Qatar is considering investing in the $100bn global technology fund formed by SoftBank Group Corp and Saudi Arabia, according to people familiar with the matter.
SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son visited Doha and other parts of the Gulf region in recent months to discuss investments with global investors, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority is considering an investment of billions of dollars, which will help diversify its economy away from oil, the people said.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and SoftBank are looking for additional commitments of about $30bn, the people said. No final agreements have been reached and talks may still falter, they said. Goldman Sachs Group is working as an adviser on the structure of the new fund, one of the people said.
Representatives for the QIA, SoftBank and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. A spokesman for the Public Investment Fund didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment outside of regular business hours.
SoftBank signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia this month to create the fund, tentatively named the SoftBank Vision Fund, to raise money to back technology companies globally. The Tokyo-based company agreed to invest at least $25bn, and Saudi Arabia may put in as much as $45bn over the next five years with other large investors making up the rest.
Gulf countries are looking for new sources of income as a plunge in oil prices puts pressure on economic growth and increases budget deficits. Saudi Arabia is planning to list the Saudi Arabian Oil Co, which may raise $100bn and will be held by its sovereign wealth fund, Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman said in April. The Public Investment Fund made a $3.5bn investment in ride-hailing company Uber Technologies in June.
The QIA is the ninth largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with $335bn in assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
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