$100B SoftBank Fund Gearing Up For Launch

Just a few weeks after the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency, Masayoshi Son, head of SoftBank of Japan, said his firm would invest as much as $50 billion in the U.S. That initiative remains part of a $100 billion investment fund (the SoftBank Vision Fund, initially announced before the election in October) that is, as The New York Times reported, starting to rumble to life and take shape.

Of the $100 billion slated for investment, the Times said, roughly three fourths, or $75 billion, will go toward investments of size and scale in both private and public markets, which presages buys, for example, of equities traded on exchanges or private deals, leaving aside startups for now.

Key initiatives stretching across the $45 billion being put up from Saudi Arabia, $25 billion from SoftBank, and other sums from tech stalwarts Apple and Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison will range from FinTech to robotics. Investments are slated to start later in January.

The paper noted that significant buys of tech firm stakes may not be in the offing as markets may have trouble digesting those placements. The upper echelons of the investment management team come from Deutsche Bank, with an analyst team sourced from SoftBank. And one of the more important measures of investment strategy, said the paper, might be growth. Cash will be the currency in taking firms private, and job creation will be a key consideration in how, when and where money is deployed. In the meantime, a longer-term investing horizon is in place, as the Times noted that investors will not have to be paid back in 12 years (along with five years to actually invest the monies).