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SoftBank will increase its focus on the Middle East by helping the companies it has invested in via its $100 billion Vision Fund set up in the region.
During a CNBC-hosted panel at the Fintech Abu Dhabi conference Monday, a top executive from SoftBank Investment Advisers revealed details of the Vision Fund's spotlight on the Middle East, a topic that the Japanese firm has previously not spoken much about.
"We are working... to bring our portfolio of companies, where relevant, to the region so that they can actually set up local and regional businesses here and there are a number of our companies that have globally scalable models," Faisal Rahman, Middle Eastern regional office head at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said.
Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the country's sovereign wealth fund, have put money into SoftBank's Vision Fund. Rahman said that SoftBank would work with both these entities to help its portfolio companies — which include the likes of Uber and WeWork — expand in the region. He did not name specific companies, however.
SoftBank has not made major moves in the Middle East until now. Just a few weeks ago it hired Rahman, an ex-Deutsche Bank executive. SoftBank also typically writes checks to firms it invests in worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But there is not that scale of company yet in the Middle East.
While Rahman did not rule investing in Middle East-based technology firms, he said the focus would first be to bring its existing portfolio companies to the region. "Our offices are here to facilitate that transition for those companies and set them up here."