SoftBank’s $100B Vision Fund weighs IPO

Masa Son is also considering raising a second massive investment fund
May 03, 2019 09:25AM

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images)

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images)

To keep pace with Masayoshi Son’s deal-making, SoftBank is weighing aggressive fundraising options for its $100 billion Vision Fund, including an IPO.

Son, SoftBank’s founder and CEO, is also currently in talks with Oman to add to the funding the company already received from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. SoftBank is also moving forward with another fund at least as large as their signature Vision Fund.

The Vision Fund has invested nearly all of its money in just two years — backing giants like real estate brokerage Compass and iBuying startup Opendoor — well ahead of schedule after initially planning to invest over a four-year period. And Son recently negotiated several multi-billion dollar deals in China that are not yet formalized, sources told the Journal.

The planned IPOs of SoftBank-backed startups WeWork — which rebranded this year after SoftBank slashed its funding plans — and Uber will give the company some flexibility. But with the Vision Fund’s plans to double their staff to 800 from 400, it doesn’t appear Son is planning slow down SoftBank’s investing anytime soon.

SoftBank’s IPO, planned for the fall, may raise eyebrows. By building a portfolio of technology startups that have yet to turn a profit, the fund plans to tap into smaller investors that are eager to invest in startups but are hindered by regulatory frameworks.

“As a global asset manager we evaluate many sources of capital,” a spokesman for the Vision Fund said, adding that no formal decisions have been made. [WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei