SoftBank launches new $108 billion fund to invest in A.I.

SoftBank launches new $108 billion fund to invest in A.I.

GP: Masayoshi Son 180430

SoftBank on Friday announced its second mega fund to invest into technology companies developing artificial intelligence technologies around the world.

The total expected contribution to the SoftBank Vision Fund 2 from both the Japanese conglomerate and other partners stands at about $108 billion based on a series of memoranda of understandings, the company said.

For its part, SoftBank said it plans to contribute $38 billion into the new fund.

Some prominent corporations that are expected to participate in Vision Fund 2 include: Apple, Microsoft, iPhone assembler Foxconn, Standard Chartered Bank, Japanese financial giants Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and MUFG Bank.

Others include the National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan and investors from Taiwan.

The sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, which were major backers of the first Vision Fund, were notably absent from SoftBank’s list of expected investors on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported, citing unnamed sources, that Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi had indicated they were re likely to invest again, but Riyadh’s commitment will be less than the $45 billion it put into the first fund.

SoftBank said that the total anticipated capital contribution is expected to rise amid ongoing discussions with other participants. If partners follow through with their financial commitments, the second fund is set to raise more than the first fund’s $100 billion.

The first fund is known for investing billions of dollars into global technology and telecommunication companies. The fund, which delivered about 45% rate of return to partners after fees on a net equity basis, invested into companies such as Uber, Slack, The We Company (formerly known as WeWork), as well as Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.

In May, CEO Masayoshi Son had said on an earnings call that Vision Fund 2 aimed to match the size of its predecessor.

SoftBank Group shares were up 0.59% in morning trade.