The Real Deal New York

SoftBank’s Masa Son pulls out of Saudi conference after journalist’s death

He is the latest executive to do so
October 23, 2018 09:35AM

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images)

SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son is the latest executive to pull out of an investment conference in Riyadh following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Son cancelled plans to attend the Future Investment Initiative on Tuesday, the conference’s first day, the New York Times reported. The news comes on the heels of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly spoke about the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Other executives have also backed out of the conference, including JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde.

Meanwhile, SoftBank is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest business partners. The Saudi government is providing $45 billion of Softbank’s nearly $100 billion Vision Fund. It’s the largest technology fund to date, and is being used to pump money into startups like WeWork and Compass. However, an executive for the Vision Fund spoke at the conference on Tuesday.

It’s not clear if the Japanese conglomerate will further distance itself from Saudi Arabia. Many of the executives who opted out of the investment conference have maintained ties to the country. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel