On Monday, SoftBank’s CEO, Masayoshi Son had finally broke silence upon Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing in Saudi consulate, Turkey. Commenting on the killing he said that the Bank’s $100 billion Vision Fund can be impacted by the unpleasant incident. Though Son condemned the Khashoggi’s killing, but uttered that they will continue to manage previously accepted Saudi funds in Vision Fund. But before concluding about fate to continue business with Saudi allies, SoftBank decided to wait for the ending of killing’s investigation.
In $100 billion worth of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund holds the role of being largest single investor with its $45 billion. Aroused situation from the killing of Journalist linked with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad Bin Salman, put the SoftBank in a complex situation, as Crown Prince from Saudi’s end, has been leading the investment in Vision Fund. And in this scenario standing by the Prince could let the Vision Fund out of the highly lucrative running deals. On the other Saudi could pull off their current investment along with promise of another $45 billion in next Vision Fund, if SoftBank turns back.
Numbers of SoftBank supported companies are planning to increase their business in the Middle East including Katerra, a construction startup and Plenty Inc. an indoor farming business firm. Katerra has recently signed memorandum of understanding with Saudi Ministry of Housing. High profile startup business like Uber Technologies heavily invested by the Vision Fund has also been directly funded by Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
Vision Fund has invested billions into startup businesses globally including Silicon Valley. In midst of the controversial situation, Vision Fund is not moving away from making business deals. In start November, Zume Inc., a newcomer in food industry which employ robots for pizza making received an investment amount of $375 million from Vision Fund, whereas $1.1 billion had been received by Silicon Valley based View Inc., maker of smart glass used in windowpanes connected with internet.
Later Son said that to raise his concerns about the incident, he had met the Crown Prince. He also refused to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia last month. “As horrible as this event was, we cannot turn our backs on the Saudi people, as we work to help them in their continued efforts to reform and modernize their society.” Is clear viewpoint of Vision Fund CEO, Masayoshi Son.