SoftBank Vision Fund
SoftBank Group Corp. has spent at least half of its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund in less than two years, prompting executives to consider how the world’s biggest technology investor will raise more money to keep up that investment pace.
The Vision Fund, which is backed by the sovereign-wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, has taken stakes in some of the world’s most valuable startups, including ride-hailing pioneer Uber Technologies Inc. and shared-office-space company WeWork Cos. LLC.
SoftBank said Wednesday the fund has spent about $50 billion of its approximately $99 billion in capital. At the roughly $7 billion-per-quarter spending rate it has logged so far, the Vision Fund’s remaining money will last another year and a half—likely less, when taking into account existing investments that may get transferred to the fund from SoftBank’s own books.
SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has said since last year that he doesn’t want to let up and would like to start a second Vision Fund. “We’re going to keep up this pace of investment,” Mr. Son said in Tokyo on Wednesday. “We’re in prime shape.”
However, raising tens of billions of dollars may not be easy for SoftBank these days, as markets turn volatile and big economies like China show signs of slowing. Also, the Vision Fund’s lead backer, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, has been accused of ordering the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, making some tech companies reluctant to take Saudi-tied money. The crown prince has denied involvement in the killing.
Mr. Son, the Vision Fund’s creator, said he was considering when and how to raise more capital, but it wasn’t something that needed to be “rushed in the next few months.”