SoftBank mulls IPO of $100bn Vision Fund

TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank Group Corporation is considering an initial public offering of its $100 billion Vision Fund, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. The fund was set up in 2017 and has become the world’s largest technology investment fund. Its investments include ride-hailing pioneer Uber, chip designer ARM and shared workspace firm WeWork. The company has publicly stated it plans to set up a second investment fund. The senior banking source said Softbank was now talking to banks about helping it raise money, confirming an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal.

Softbank has spoken to half a dozen banks over the last month about a potential listing of the Vision Fund but has yet to start a formal process, the source said, adding he was not expecting such a process 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, adding that Softbank had been possibly given the idea by fellow tech investor Naspers, which plans to list some of its assets. “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 said. — Reuters