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December 13, 2016

Apple mulls $1bn investment in SoftBank’s tech fund

SoftBank is planning to make future large-scale investments through the tech fund, instead on its own.

By CBR Staff Writer

Apple has reportedly held talks on investing about $1bn in a $100bn fund being raised by Japanese telecommunications and internet giant SoftBank.

SoftBank itself is investing around $25bn in the fund and is finalising an investment of up to $45bn from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the investment would allow Apple to gain insight on emerging technologies, noting that nothing has been finalized.

The publication added that the status of the talks could not be learned.

The SoftBank Vision Fund, which is expected to be launched next year, will be based in London. The $100bn would be invested over a five-year period and it equals the same amount of all funds raised by US venture capital firms over the past two and a half years.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told President-elect Donald Trump last week that he plans to invest up to $50bn of the fund in the US, with a pledge to create 50,000 new jobs.

The fund will be led by SoftBank’s head of strategic finance, Rajeev Misra.

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Earlier this year, Apple invested $1bn in Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

The iPhone maker had cash reserves of $238bn at the end of September and the investment in Didi Chuxing was its largest since it acquired headphone maker and streaming music firm Beats Electronics for $3bn in 2014.

The investments signal a shift in Apple’s strategy, which focused mostly on purchasing startups that are valued at less than $1bn.

Apple and SoftBank had good relationships since 2008, when they signed an agreement to make SoftBank the exclusive iPhone seller in Japan.

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