SoftBank launches a blank-check company to join the SPAC craze

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank Group Corp. Masayoshi Son speaks during a press conference on November 6, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images

SoftBank Group on Monday unveiled the launch of a special purpose procurement company, saying it intends to raise $ 525 million for an investment in a technology company.

The Japanese investment giant is the latest big name to jump on the wave of so-called empty check companies, which involves an investment vehicle entering public markets and then using the money raised to merge with a private company.

“Our SPAC will link SoftBank’s private and public investment strategies, allowing us to work with a fast-growing, IPO-ready technology company. We believe we have access to a wide range of compelling investment opportunities through our broad international presence and our deep local networks, “the company said in a securities depository.

SPACs have seen an increase in interest in 2020 and the involvement of profile investors, including hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. The deals raised more than $ 60 billion this year, according to Renaissance Capital.

Softbank has been one of the largest investors in private technology and technology adjacent companies, with mixed success. The company’s previous investments include Uber, ByteDance and WeWork.

The company has also been a controversial player in the public markets this year, reporting that SoftBank was the “Nasdaq whale” that bought large amounts of technology stock options.