Japanese technology giant SoftBank is preparing for an IPO worth $21 billion, which means it's likely there are more “Vision Funds” coming from a company that is already a powerful globally focused investor.
The IPO will have shares priced at 1,500 yen ($13.21/£10.47), but interestingly, SoftBank isn't going down the normal route of having shares priced in a range. Instead, the shares are priced at the flat rate. In other words, investors will have to buy shares at one price and not have lesser quality shares, and won't be able to pad out the investment at a final price using a range.
SoftBank's Vision Fund, meanwhile, is a $100 billion fund investing in technology companies all over the world, ostensibly to create "SoftBank 2.0." Talk of a second Vision Fund started earlier this year, with as much as $100 billion reportedly being raised by SoftBank founder Masoyoshi Son for 2019. This IPO could help hugely with that, through the selling of shares to investors. (See SoftBank Aims to Raise $100B on Top of Existing Vision Fund.)
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son founded SoftBank in 1981, and 37 years later has investments in technology companies worth billions of dollars. (Image: Nobuyuki Hayashi, Flickr)
SoftBank has already invested billions through its current Vision Fund. Companies invested in include WeWork, to the tune of a sweet $4.4 billion, to create WeWork Japan, a co-owned venture between WeWork and SoftBank. Fanatics, an online sports apparel retailer, raised $1 billion, while workplace communication app Slack received $250 million in a funding round led by the Vision Fund. Finally, the Vision Fund injected $4 billion into Nvidia, for a 4.9% stake in the company.
SoftBank is also setting up a team in China, reports Reuters, to manage Vision Fund investments there, as it looks capture technology companies in the most populous country on earth. China is fast becoming a hotbed for AI and robotics tech, so it's not a surprise to see SoftBank forming an initial investment team there -- any one of the companies could help create founder Son's vision of SoftBank 2.0, with AI, robotics, AR, VR, cybersecurity and next-gen e-commerce all in the frame.