Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank Group said they will create a technology investment fund that could grow as large as $100 billion, aiming to create one of the world’s largest private equity funds. The plan is part of a series of dramatic business initiatives launched by Riyadh this year as Saudi Arabia, its economy hurt by low oil prices, deploys huge financial reserves in an effort to move into non-oil industries. SoftBank’s founder and chairman Masayoshi Son, who has built his company into a $68 billion telecommunications and tech investment behemoth from a $50,000 start-up, has been seeking to expand in new areas. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund, is set to be the lead investment partner and may invest up to $45 billion over the next five years while SoftBank expects to invest at least $25 billion, the Japanese company said in a statement.
Several other large investors are in talks on their possible participation and could bring the total size of the new fund up to $100 billion. The investors were not identified. “With the establishment of the SoftBank Vision Fund, we will be able to step up investments in technology companies globally. Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector,” SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said. The fund would be managed in Britain by a subsidiary of SoftBank.