SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra to launch $6 billion fund backed by Abu Dhabi groups


Rajeev Misra, the trader who helped make SoftBank the world’s biggest and most controversial tech investor, is stepping down from the Japanese group to launch a new $6 billion Abu Dhabi-backed fund.

Misra, who structured and managed the record-breaking $100 billion Vision Fund, said he would remain involved with SoftBank but his new venture would pursue investment strategies beyond start-ups.

The shakeup marks the latest sign of turmoil within SoftBank, which has been rocked by falling valuations of tech companies as well as an exodus of senior management in recent months.

The new fund would be backed by Abu Dhabi state funds Mubadala and ADQ, as well as Royal Group, the conglomerate chaired by UAE national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al Nahyan, Misra said.

Abu Dhabi‘s backing shows how Misra has managed to retain support from investors in the region, despite the disappointing performance of the Vision Fund, which is best known for its disastrous bets on office provider WeWork, China’s Didi Chuxing and the bankrupt supply chain finance group. Capital of Greensill.

“We have established a strong relationship with Rajeev and will explore investing in his new fund,” said Mubadala, who was the second largest outside investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund after Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Sheikh Tahnoon, who is a brother of UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, is also Chairman of ADQ, one of Abu Dhabi’s newest and most active investment vehicles.

Misra has spent increasing time in recent years with Sheikh Tahnoon, one of the UAE’s most powerful figures who also oversees a sprawling business empire, people familiar with the matter said. The ADQ declined to comment. Royal Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told staff in a memo on Thursday that Misra, a former Deutsche Bank and UBS executive who joined SoftBank in 2014, would leave key positions at the company.

Son said he would personally take more day-to-day management of SoftBank’s second Vision Fund, which has failed to attract external support and has made tough bets on start-ups such as Sweden’s Klarna.

Son added that Misra would continue to oversee the $100 billion Vision Fund and would remain “a trusted senior advisor and an integral part of the SoftBank family.”

During his eight years at SoftBank, Misra repeatedly clashed with senior colleagues, including former Google executive Nikesh Arora, who left in 2016, and former Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure. who left earlier this year.

Several SoftBank executives, who like Misra previously worked at Deutsche Bank, are in talks to join Misra’s new venture, according to people familiar with the matter, including Munish Varma, Yanni Pipilis and Akshay Naheta.

Naheta, another divisive figure within SoftBank, chaired the SB Northstar Group’s short-lived in-house hedge fund, which effectively shut down earlier this year after posting $5.75 billion in losses. The 40-year-old left SoftBank in April and is based in Abu Dhabi, where the new fund’s main backers are based.

At SoftBank, Naheta earned a reputation for engineering controversial transactions involving derivatives, such as SoftBank’s complex $1 billion bet on shares of fraudulent payments company Wirecard.


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