Business

Softbank-Saudi tech fund raises $129 billion

RIYADH The world's largest private equity fund, backed by Japan's Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund, said it has raised more than US$93 billion (S$129 billion) to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

"The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale and long-term investment," the Softbank Vision Fund said.

BILLIONAIRE

Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank, a telecommunications and tech investment group, revealed plans for the fund last October.

Since then, it has obtained commitments from some of the world's most deep-pocketed investors.

In addition to Softbank and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), the new fund's investors include Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment, which has committed US$15 billion, Apple, Qualcomm, Taiwan's Foxconn Technology and Japan's Sharp Corporation.

The fund made the announcement during the visit of US President Donald Trump to Riyadh and the signing of tens of billions of dollars worth of business deals between US and Saudi companies. Mr Son was also in Riyadh on Saturday.

After meeting Mr Trump in December, Mr Son pledged $50 billion of investment in the US that would create 50,000 jobs, a promise Mr Trump claimed was a direct result of his election win.

The fund may also serve the interests of Saudi Arabia by helping Riyadh obtain access to foreign technology.

The PIF signalled an interest in the tech sector last year by investing US$3.5 billion in US ride-hailing firm Uber.

Saturday's statement did not say how much the PIF had committed to the fund, but it previously said it would invest up to US$45 billion over five years. Softbank is investing US$28 billion.

- REUTERS

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