SoftBank Group Corp.’s bid to raise a second mega fund has met with a chilly reception from some of the world’s biggest money managers, signaling that a crucial initiative for the firm faces significant hurdles.
The Japanese technology giant has made preliminary approaches to some of the world’s largest investors as it seeks to raise $100 billion for another fund dedicated to tech startups. But several of these investors plan to make limited or no contributions, people familiar with the matter said. They include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, whose $45 billion check made it the largest backer of SoftBank’s first tech fund, known as the Vision Fund.
Many of the biggest funds already have established programs to invest directly in late-stage startups and aren’t interested in paying fees to another party, people close to them said. Some of those with less experience who might benefit from the Vision Fund’s access to deals said they are concerned about its lack of transparency and its governance and see an investment as a bet on the acumen of one person: SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son.
SoftBank 9984, -1.11% has increased its disclosure around the fund’s governance and investment process as reported in the group’s quarterly filings. A SoftBank spokesman said the idea that big investors have been cool to the second Vision Fund is “misleading and even inaccurate.”
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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