SoftBank's Rajeev Misra says Vision Fund 2 is backing a SPAC

Key Points
  • SoftBank Vision Fund head Rajeev Misra said he is preparing a SPAC at the 2020 Milken Institute Global Conference.
  • The SPAC will be run by Vision Fund investment advisors and will include money from Vision Fund 2 and outside investors, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • Misra has struggled to raise money for SoftBank's second vision fund after poor performance from Vision Fund 1 and the pandemic have curbed outside interest.

In this article

Rajeev Misra, CEO of the SoftBank Investment Advisers.

SoftBank Vision Fund chief Rajeev Misra has made a living from raising money. Now he's jumping on the latest investment bandwagon.

Speaking at the 2020 Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Misra said he's preparing a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The trendy investment vehicle will give the Vision Fund a new way of investing in private companies and give public investors access to SoftBank's portfolio manager picks. Misra said he'll outline more plans in the next two weeks.

The SPAC will be operated by SoftBank Vision Fund investment advisors and will include money from outside investors and Vision Fund 2, according to a person familiar with the matter. A SoftBank spokesman declined to comment.

Misra helped raise $100 billion SoftBank's first Vision Fund, which was invested into more than 80 companies. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son previously said he planned to raise a second $108 billion for a second Vision Fund.

But Misra has struggled to raise money for the second fund after several Vision Fund 1 investments, including WeWork and Oyo Hotels, failed to generate returns for investors. Pandemic shutdowns have also accelerated a shift in SoftBank's strategy away from frenetic investment in start-ups, and toward divestment of assets to shore up cash, such as selling Arm to Nvidia and $21 billion of T-Mobile stock.

The first Vision Fund reported an $18 billion loss last year. It recorded an investment gain of $2.8 billion last quarter after publicly traded stocks Slack and Uber recovered from pandemic-related lows.

Investing in a SPAC will give Misra access to public money once the Vision Fund has selected a suitable target and acquired it. The Vision Fund has thus far only taken funding from limited partners and corporations.

There has been more money raised via SPAC than ever before this year, according to data from Refinitiv, as investors have embraced the expedited process of going public.

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