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SoftBank Mulls Vision Fund IPO

Another day, another headline on Japan’s SoftBank Group.

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The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that SoftBank is reportedly considering a range of big new fundraising plans, including a potential public offering of its $100 billion Vision Fund. The firm is looking to launch a second fund of at least that size (as Alex wrote about yesterday). It’s also reportedly talking with the sultanate of Oman for a multi-billion-dollar investment.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones keeping track of all the investments SoftBank has made over the past two years. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the fund’s staff is hustling to keep up”…considering Chief Executive Masayoshi Son “has invested nearly all the money that the Vision Fund took in just two years ago.” In fact, the WSJ goes on to report that Son has been negotiating informal deals worth a combined several billion dollars that the Vision Fund “doesn’t yet have.” (Note: the below chart was current as of Nov. 20, 2018)

That original fund contained mostly participation from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Now, SoftBank appears to be in discussions with Oman for a multi-billion dollar capital infusion. It’s also considering an IPO, but that would not take place until the original fund is depleted.

“The hope is to create a smaller version of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. —only loaded with young technology companies, many of which have yet to turn a profit, instead of a stable of well-established utilities, insurers and energy companies,” reported the WSJ.

Earlier this week, we reported on how SoftBank was investing “up to $1 billion” in Colombian on-demand delivery unicorn Rappi. Last November, our own Savannah did a rundown of what SoftBank had invested in over the course of 2018 up until that point.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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