Reports: SoftBank opens London office for $100bn tech fund

The Tokyo-based telco giant has reportedly launched an office in London as the outpost for its $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund.

Japanese telco and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corporation has reportedly launched an office in London that will serve as the headquarters of its SoftBank Vision Fund, a technology fund targeting a whopping JPY 10 trillion ($100 billion; €95 billion).

Along with the fund’s new office in West London’s Mayfair, at 69 Grosvenor Street, SoftBank has also started hiring 10 investment officers and may hire ‘several dozen more’ according to a source cited by Bloomberg.

A representative for SoftBank declined to comment on the matter.

The giant tech fund, which will be used to back tech companies globally, was launched by SoftBank in October this year in partnership with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement signed on 12 October, SoftBank will invest up to $25 billion while PIF will consider becoming the lead investment partner, committing nearly half or up to $45 billion to the fund over the next five years. SoftBank is also in talks with large global investors for the remaining fund commitments, it said in a statement.

The fund will be led by Rajeev Misra, SoftBank's head of strategic finance, while former Deutsche Bank AG banker Nizar Al-Bassam and Goldman Sachs Group partner Dalinc Ariburnu are advisers, SoftBank announced previously.

Meanwhile according to media reports, Jonathan Bullock, chief operations officer of SoftBank International, and Alok Sama, SoftBank’s chief financial officer, have also been appointed senior advisers to the fund, and will mainly be based primarily in London.

Details of the fund’s investment strategy have yet to be announced. However according to SoftBank’s founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son's comments in the company’s 7 November earnings call, the fund’s ‘financial strategy is to pare down SoftBank’s debt in the coming years so that investments made over JPY 10 billion will be made through the fund’. SoftBank expects to raise money by inviting partners to commit to the fund, charging fees from investors, and by making successful investments, Son explained during the call.

Last week Son met with US president-elect Donald Trump and promised to invest $50 billion in America’s technology sector. However, it is not clear if the investments will come from the Vision Fund. 

SoftBank, which has over JPY 20 trillion under management, was an early investor in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.