Japanese telecom conglomerate, SoftBank is planning to launch an initial public offering of its $100 Bn SoftBank Vision Fund, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Reuters reported that SoftBank is in touch with five to six banks about the potential listing of the fund. However, no formal declaration has been made yet and is neither expected in the near term. “They asked banks questions on how they could possibly do it. It is still very much in exploration mode,” the source said.
The idea reportedly came to SoftBank from fellow tech investor Naspers, which has some of its assets listed. “The big difference is that the biggest asset in the Naspers portfolio is Tencent, which is listed, whereas the portfolio of the Vision Fund is all private,” the source told Reuters.
SoftBank, which has raised most of its fund for the Vision fund from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi (according to a report in WSJ) is also in talks with Oman for further infusion of capital.
Vision fund is also planning to double the strength of its staff over the next one and a half year to keep up with the pace with which SoftBank has been making deals, SoftBank’s top deputies said at a conference in Los Angeles this week.
SoftBank’s Love Affair With India
The fund which was set up in 2017, is the world’s largest technology investment fund and has around $10 Bn invested in India. Some of SoftBank’s prominent investments in India are Ola, OYO, Hike, Paytm and Paytm Mall.
SoftBank is also reportedly looking to invest around $2 Bn to $3 Bn in Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio through the $100 Bn Vision Fund.
SoftBank’s interest in Reliance Industries is in line with its investments in telecom, ecommerce and technology platforms in India.
Earlier in March, a Reuters report quoted SoftBank Ventures Asia CEO JP Lee saying the conglomerate will launch a new global fund worth $500 Mn known as SoftBank Acceleration Fund.
The fund will be reportedly backed by SoftBank, South Korea’s National Pension Service as well as other companies and asset management firms.