SoftBank’s Vision Fund already invested $70 billion; active interest from investors for new fund, says CEO Masayoshi Son

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Published: March 18, 2019 8:24:13 PM

SoftBank's Founder and CEO said that there is a lot inbound interest from investors for a new fund but it is "too early," even as $70 billion has already been invested from the $100-billion Vision Fund that has backed companies like OYO, Uber, Grab, Didi Chuxing, WeWork globally.

In India, apart from OYO, SoftBank has stakes in companies including Paytm, Policy Bazaar, Delhivery, Grofers, Hike etc.

Softbank has invested around $65-70 billion from its $100-billion Vision Fund so far and might invest in more companies ahead, its Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son said. SoftBank launched the Vision Fund in October 2016 and has invested in global companies such as hotel booking app OYO, ride hailing firms Uber, Grab and Didi Chuxing, coworking giant WeWork, messaging app Slack etc. In India, apart from OYO, SoftBank has stakes in companies including Paytm, Policy Bazaar, Delhivery, Grofers, Hike etc.

“We have invested around $65-70 billion but we have the banks who are wishing to support us for extending leverage because of the value of our assets has grown and many of them are having IPO,” Son told CNBC in an interview recently.

Deploying around 70 per cent of the Vision Fund in less than 2.5 years of its launch suggests that SoftBank might have to raise another Vision Fund to back more companies. But it is “too early,” Son said to look at a new fund as “we (SoftBank) have to see how many more exciting opportunities comes up with pace.”

In fact, Son claimed that there is already active interest from investors that are willing to pump money into another fund as and when it happens.

“…there is lot of interest that I am receiving (from investors) that they would like to invest in our next investments,” he said. While Son couldn’t comment on whether the size of the future fund would still be $100 billion but he admitted that he is getting “lot of inbound calls” from those looking to join as new investors.

Son also seemed to be happy about his portfolio companies, despite making losses, including the Southeast Asian ride hailing firm Grab in which its $1.46 billion investment was announced earlier this month.

“But they are growing so quickly. There (Grab) take rate is 20 per cent or more. So it is actually a very reasonable business,” Son said. Take rate is the the fees or commissions charged by online retailers from its third-party sellers and drivers in the case of ride hailing companies.

Grab had last year acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business. Including its latest Series H round, Grab has raised $8.8 billion, as per deals tracker Crunchbase, and is reportedly valued at $14 billion.

On the SoftBank Vision Fund’s part, it has made 55 investments including Grab and has made 6 exits so far including Flipkart last year when it sold its entire stake to Walmart.

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