SoftBank to File Monday for SPAC to Raise Over $500 Million

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SoftBank Group Corp. plans to file Monday to raise at least $500 million through a blank-check company, a person familiar with the situation said, tapping investor enthusiasm for the controversial listing vehicles.

The special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, will be overseen by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which also runs the Vision Fund. It will be used to buy a company SoftBank hasn’t previously invested in, according to the person who asked not to be named as the plans are private. The news of the timing was firstreported Sunday by Axios.

Kenichi Yuasa, a Tokyo-based spokesman at SoftBank Group, declined to comment.

Rajeev Misra, the head of the Vision Fund, originally revealed plans for the SPAC in an interview with Bloomberg News at the Milken Institute’s virtual conference in October. At the time, he said details would be announced within two weeks. It’s not clear what led to the delay.

The blank-check venture will combine the Vision Fund’s expertise in tech startups with SoftBank’s relatively new emphasis on public stock trading.

SPACs ask investors to put money into a stock before knowing which company they’ll back. The SPAC manager then chooses a company, typically one that’s privately traded, and pursues a merger that lets the startup go public and inherit the capital raised.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. andCitigroup Inc. are managing the deal, Axios reported.

SPACs have been criticized as a more expensive way of taking companies public than traditional initial public offerings and been linked to frothy valuations. But the mechanism can also allow experienced sponsors to help guide growing companies. For SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who has backed hundreds of startups in his career, creating such a vehicle may give him a new way to invest in nascent companies while tapping the surging public markets for money.

— With assistance by Takahiko Hyuga

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