Riyadh forms $100bn fund with Japan's Softbank

14 October 2016

Technology fund will be one of the largest of its kind in the world

Riyadh has formed a $100bn technology investment fund in partnership with Japan’s Softbank Group Corporation.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Softbank on 12 October, under which the PIF will consider investing up to $45bn over the next five years. Softbank will invest $25bn, and Softbank says the overall potential size of the fund could be as much as $100bn.

The tentative name for the fund will be the Softbank Vision Fund and it will be managed by a Softbank subsidiary in the UK. Softbank says the fund, which will invest in technology companies, will aim to be one of the world’s largest of its kind. Softbank is a technology firm headed by Masayoshi Son as its chairman and chief executive officer

“The Public Investment Fund is focused on achieving attractive long-term financial returns from its investments at home and abroad, as well as supporting the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy to develop a diversified economy. We are delighted to sign this MOU with SBG [Softbank Group] given the long history, established industry relationships and strong investment performance of SBG and Masayoshi Son.”

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, chairman, PIF

Investing in technology companies is a key strategy for Riyadh as it seeks to diversify its investment portfolio and create new white collar employment opportunities for Saudi nationals as part of Vision 2030. In June, the PIF invested $3.5bn in US-based taxi service Uber.

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