SoftBank 'anxiously' monitoring Saudi Arabia situation
SoftBank Group Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure said it is “business at usual” at companies backed by its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund despite a tense situation with Saudi Arabia, which provided nearly half of the fund’s capital, Reuters reports.
Claure spoke at a technology conference in San Jose, California for British chip design firm Arm Holdings, which was acquired by SoftBank Group in 2016 for $32 billion. Claure said SoftBank is “anxiously looking at what is happening” regarding the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.
“We, like most parties in the world, are watching events unfold,” Claure said. “We are just monitoring.”
SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund has become one of the primary funding vehicles for technology companies around the world. Saudi Arabia provided $45 billion for the fund, and unease over SoftBank’s ties to the kingdom dragged down its shares earlier this week.
The shares recovered 2.88 percent to 9,862 yen by midday on Wednesday, but were still down around 8 percent from a month earlier.
SoftBank is also raising a second $100 billion Vision Fund. Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg that the country’s Public Investment Fund would contribute $45 billion to the second Vision Fund. Claure declined to comment to reporters on whether SoftBank would accept the capital if it were offered.
“There’s no certainty,” he said. “We don’t have a date” for the closing of the second Vision Fund, he said.