Real Estate

Could SoftBank Take One Of Its Own Investments Public?

Heavily invested in companies like Compass and Opendoor, the Japanese conglomerate announced this week it would create a special purpose acquisition company.

SoftBank Investment Advisers, a subsidiary of SoftBank, officially filed the paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week to launch SVF Investment Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

SVF Investment Corp., which is sponsored by the same arm of the business as the SoftBank Vision Fund — it’s tech investment vehicle — announced in the filing that it’s seeking to raise $525 million as part of its initial public offering.

“Our SPAC will bridge SoftBank’s private and public investing strategies by enabling us to partner with a fast-growing, IPO-ready technology company, the filing states. “We believe that we have access to a wide range of compelling investment opportunities through our broad international presence and deep local networks.”

The Japanese conglomerate was tight-lipped on the industry or type of investment it is targeting, but did say, in the filing, that it’s looking for a disruptor with a large market next-generation technology, sustainable and profitable growth with proven unit economics and visionary founders and a strong management team.

“We have not selected any business combination target and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, initiated any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any business combination target,” the filing states. “We will not be limited to a particular industry or geographic region in our identification and acquisition of a target company.”

The filing also did not explicitly write-off investing in a company in which it already has a stake, although SVF Investment Corp. won’t do that, according to a Bloomberg report.

“We are not prohibited from pursuing an initial business combination with a company that is affiliated with SBIA, the SoftBank Vision Funds, our sponsor, officers or directors,” the filing states.

The SoftBank Vision Fund has led multiple funding rounds for Compass, the growing New York City-founded real estate brokerage that hasn’t been shy about its own public ambitions.

Compass has reportedly hired banks to underwrite a potential public offering and its CEO Robert Reffkin has touted the benefits of being publicly traded in a letter to agents. 

The tailwinds of COVID-19 led to a comeback year for SoftBank, which continues to put distance between itself and the failed initial public offering of WeWork.

The company saw two of its investments in DoorDash and Opendoor go public in December, netting the company billions in potential profit on its investments in the two firms. 

Email Patrick Kearns

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