SoftBank leaves many questions open at unveiling Vision Fund II of 108 billion dollars

Get a free Techzine subscription!

SoftBank has announced plans for a second Vision Fund, which may contain more than 108 billion dollars. However, CEO Masayoshi Son has left many questions unanswered at the unveiling.

SoftBank’s first Vision Fund was launched in 2017 and contained no less than 97 billion dollars. That was the largest amount of money ever raised for tech investments, making Son also the most important tech investor in the world.

The second Vision Fund is therefore even bigger, writes The Financial Times. This time, Apple and Microsoft, among others, are participating in the project, and the money will be invested in artificial intelligence (AI).

However, there is only one company that is really obliged to invest money: SoftBank itself. That’s going to put 38 billion of his own money into the fund. Several other companies have to invest the remaining 70 billion, but have signed a non-binding memorandum. They are not obliged to do anything.

Remarkable parties

In addition, there are some striking names among the organisations and companies participating in the project. One of these is, for example, The National Investment Corporation of The National Bank of Kazakhstan, which held only $107 million in 2018.

There was also no mention of the governments of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, which together provided 60% of the first Vision Fund. According to SoftBank, there is still talk with them about an investment. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia promised just a few months ago to invest USD 45 billion in the fund.

However, there is tension between the investors, because SoftBank supports WeWork. The investors from the Middle East see WeWork as a property, not as a tech investment.

No detailed strategy

What was also missing from the announcement was an explanation of how SoftBank is going to raise its share of the new fund. A detailed strategy was not shared either.

Analysts argue that SoftBank will probably sell more shares in e-commerce company Alibaba and telecom provider Sprint to raise money. In addition, it can have its assets paid out to the Vision Fund.

Other investors also wonder whether SoftBank can find enough goals to absorb a large wave of money.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.