Sun, 2021-06-06 16:05

DUBAI: Vision Fund, the high-tech investment group, is on the verge of its first big backing for a Saudi Arabian company, Arab News can reveal.

The fund, which has raised about $130 billion of investment money in two separate rounds of fundraising, will back a Saudi messaging company, Rajeev Misra, the CEO, told Arab News.

“We are on the cusp of making our first investment in a local company. It’s a local messaging company, and we’re very excited about it. It will be announced shortly over the next week or 10 days,” Misra said in a “Frankly Speaking” video interview, declining to give further details until the company involved makes its announcement.

The investment will be made from Vision Fund 2, the $30 billion fund set up last year with backing from SoftBank, the giant Japanese financial institution founded by Masayoshi Son.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia put $45 billion into the first Vision Fund, but declined to take part in the second.

Misra added: “We wouldn’t have a Vision Fund today without the PIF or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, so there would be no SoftBank Vision Fund without their support.”

He said that there would be further multibillion-dollar Vision Funds in the years ahead, and hoped that Saudi and other Middle East investors would get involved.

“They will get involved when they want to get involved. Whenever they decide to join in the next one, we’ll be ecstatic,” Misra added.

Big profits from Vision Fund investments were the driving force behind the $46 billion profits declared recently by SoftBank — the biggest profits in Japanese corporate history.

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“We have local offices both in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh and in Abu Dhabi. Talking about the Saudi operation, we have introduced over 30 SoftBank VF companies to the region in the past four years — many of these are now fully operational and serving communities. I believe we have created thousands of jobs from our portfolio companies in the region,” Misra said.

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