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Billionaire Masayoshi Son’s company, SoftBank, is currently putting the finishing touches on a $100 billion investment fund called the SoftBank Vision Fund.
The fund is expected to be the world’s largest technology investment fund and claims investors such as Apple, Foxconn, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, Qualcomm, and Saudi Arabia’s investment arm.
The way the fund was publicized suggested that it intended to invest in startups and emerging technologies. In December, Son told President-elect Donald Trump that $50 billion of the fund would be invested in US startups, according to Bloomberg.
But it turns out the majority of the fund will go to “larger investments” in private and public markets, according to a report in The New York Times on Thursday.
Three-quarters of the $100 billion could be used to “grab a piece of an undervalued technology company trading on the stock exchange,” or do a private-equity deal, according to the report. It will still make smaller venture capital investments in startups with the remaining money.
However, bankers involved with the fund told The Times, growth is the emphasis – so if the fund were to take a company private, it wouldn’t intend to slash jobs, which happens in some private-equity deals.
The jobs aspect is key, because Son, who has met with Trump at Trump Tower, has said the fund would bring 50,000 jobs to the United States.
Trump has also claimed credit for the jobs created by the fund.
Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
However, Apple, whose $1 billion investment in the Softbank Vision Fund is on the smaller side, has said that it invested because of the fund’s possibility of developing new technologies, which typically come out of startups and not companies that have been taken private through private-equity deals.
“We’ve worked closely with SoftBank for many years and we believe their new fund will speed the development of technologies which may be strategically important to Apple,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider.
It’s also possible that Apple is looking for a strong return on its investment, although whatever the fund ends up making in 12 years – when it has to pay back its investors – will likely pale in comparison to the money Apple makes from sales of iPhones and other products.
The Softbank Vision Fund has a five-year deadline to invest its $100 billion. The fund will be led by London investor Rajeev Misra, and it already has a “startup feel,” according to The Times.