SoftBank floats blank-check company to raise $525 mn
Photo Credit: Reuters

SoftBank Group Corp on Monday filed to raise $525 million through a blank-check company as the Vision Fund's managers join the craze for the listing vehicles.

The company, SVF Investment Corp, is sponsored by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which runs the $100 billion fund, and said it could invest in a new or existing portfolio company.

The launch of the special purpose acquisition (SPAC) marks an appeal to investors after earlier efforts to raise capital for a second Vision Fund floundered following missteps.

"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 company said.

The group cited sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics as possibilities, in line with its broader investing thesis.

A record number of companies are using such vehicles to bypass the traditional IPO, with portfolio company OpenDoor listing on Monday via a SPAC.

SoftBank is "agnostic" on routes to market for its portfolio and is following market trends, a person familiar with the fund said, with another investment, Slack, choosing a direct listing.

The launch comes as the group, buoyed by the sell-down of assets, uses cash reserves to take positions in listed companies.

SoftBank's SPAC intends to have its units listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker "SVFAU" with Class A ordinary shares under "SVFA".

Each unit of the company, consisting of one Class A ordinary share and one-fourth of a redeemable warrant, is priced at $10.

SoftBank said its IPO pricing is an estimate solely for calculating the SEC registration fee.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities and Cantor are underwriters to the IPO.

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