SoftBank is launching a second $100 billion tech fund: Vision Fund II, the company’s chief said Thursday.
“This is the first time that they’re officially announcing that we would like to start preparing for the establishment of the SoftBank Vision Fund II,” SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son said on the company’s earnings call.
Son said the second fund will match the size of the first fund, Vision Fund I, which is $100 billion. SoftBank would like to keep some of the same investors because of its great performance but the size, structure and timing of the new fund are still being discussed.
The SoftBank chief said many investors from the first fund are showing “high interest” in Vision Fund II, as well a new investors worldwide.
“I am getting a lot of inbound calls,” Son told CNBC’s David Faber back on March 7. “They would like to invest into our next investments.”
But he said on the call last night SoftBank would like to start with 100% of its own money and then invite other investors on.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund I is a $100 billion tech fund dominated by investments from the Saudi Arabian government. The fund has already delivered a 45% rate of return to partners after fees on a net equity basis. Return to SoftBank’s shareholders is 62%.
Son said these returns are “too high” on the call and explained he has to manage expectations and “be cautious” because the company may not be able to deliver the same high returns next year.
Vision Fund I is know for dumping billions of dollars into technology and telecom companies like Uber, which is set to go public on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Slack, and The We Company, formerly known as WeWork. As the biggest single investor in Uber, the company’s IPO will be a a big moment for SoftBank. Son said its a chance for Uber’s values to “be materialized going forward.”
Son emphasized that fact that Uber is not a taxi company, but rather and artificial intelligence company. With Uber centered around a major technology like AI, its easy for SoftBank’s fund to create synergy around them, he said.
The earnings call came after the Japanese money giant reported better-than-expected annual profit. SoftBank’s operating profit for the year ended March rose more than 80% to 2.4 trillion or $22 billion.
The company also announced that SoftBank’s common stock will be split at a two-for-one ration starting June 27; however, the company’s dividend will stay the same at 44 yen per share.
SoftBank’s stock is up nearly 60% this year and Son said investors were finally enjoying a “fruitful moment” but he won’t be satisfied until SoftBank is one of the biggest internet companies in the world by market cap.
Son declined to comment about a potential IPO of Vision Fund I.