Some of the biggest executives at SoftBank Group Corp. are thinking about the possible idea of doing an initial public offering for its Vision Fund, which is estimated to be worth around $100 billion. The Vision Fund has been utilized to make massive investments across a wide range of technology companies such as WeWork and Uber.
This IPO idea is currently at an early stage, and an individual who is close to matter said the situation is still developing, but as it is still a private matter, the individual did not go on record to verify his claims. If SoftBank pursues with its initial public offering idea, it would give an opportunity to the investors who have already invested in the Vision Fund a possible way to cash out some part or basically all of their investments from the fund. The individual who is close to the matter also disclosed that SoftBank is considering to directly list their Vision Fund into the stock market rather than performing a traditional IPO event for the fund.
A direct listing of any kind would prove to be very unusual for a venture capital firm like SoftBank, but their Vision Fund has been in operation outside of the traditional venture parameters since the fund was conceived back in the year of 2016. The Vision Fund from SoftBank completely dwarfs other funds in size and it has investments across a broad spectrum of companies, which is unlike most other venture capital funds. The Vision Fund has made investments in mature companies such as the graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp, which traditional venture capital firms are hesitant to touch.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund has also considered the idea of raising another $15 billion to keep its investments ongoing and to continue its ambitious round of funding across promising tech startups. SoftBank is also in the planning stages of forming a second Vision Fund, and the Mega Corporation has already launched a Latin American fund which follows the same structure as the Vision Fund.
A representative from SoftBank has declined to comment on this matter. Wall Street Journal has also reported about the possibility of an IPO for SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor in the Vision Fund, and it made its investment through its Public Investment Fund. The country recently faced criticism from international media when Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, who is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was accused to be complicit in the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its embassy in Turkey. Other investors include Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment fund which is known as Mubadala Investment Co.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund currently owns a 16.3 percent stake in Uber, the largest ride-sharing app in the United States of America. Uber is set to offload its shares next week on the New York Stock Exchange. The Vision Fund has also made a sizeable investment into Slack Technologies Inc., which is planning to do an IPO in this year.
Masayoshi Son, who is the CEO of SoftBank, has recently stated in an interview that he plans to raise more than $100 billion in every two to three years’ time to create a successor to their Vision Fund.