Apple May Join Softbank's $100 Billion Fund Pitched to Trump
A small investment, relatively speaking, is being discussed.
Softbank Group is looking for investing partners as it assembles the world’s largest private equity fund and may connect with Apple for a small portion of the $100 billion it is seeking.
The Japanese tech conglomerate run by Masayoshi Son announced the Softbank Vision Fund in October in partnership with the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The two founding partners agreed to contribute $70 billion over five years while seeking an additional $30 billion from outsiders.
Apple AAPL -0.60% is in talks to contribute up to $1 billion to the fund, which will make technology-related investments all over the world, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources. No deal has been reached yet and the status of the talks was unknown, the newspaper said.
Fortune reached out to Apple and Softbank for comment and will update this story if any response is received.
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Son met with President-elect Donald Trump last week and prommised to invest $50 billion in the United States to create 50,000 new jobs using assets from the new fund. Through Softbank, Son also has a controlling interest in wireless carrier Sprint S-3.30% and may seek to acquire T-Mobile in a separate deal. Regulators appointed by President Obama opposed such a deal, but Trump is likely to name people more in favor of allowing mergers.
The new Softbank fund’s investments will focus on artificial intelligence and deep learning, robotics,and the market for smart, connected devices known as the Internet of things. Softbank bought mobile chip designer ARM Holdings earlier this year for $32 billion, and many of its chips will be used in those areas in years to come.
Unlike many of its large tech peers, such as Google GOOGL -0.19% and Intel INTC 0.59% , Apple doesn’t run its own venture capital investing unit.
But the company has been a frequent acquirer of startups to enhance its technology in key areas. Siri, iTunes, and Apple Maps were all built in part through acquisitions. And Apple did agree to invest $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing in May.
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