Japan-based SoftBank was tipped to be lining up an investment of as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia in the next three- to four-years, as the company further deepens its ties with the country.
According to Bloomberg, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son committed to the investment with the aim of deploying up to $15 billion in Neom, a new city set to be built on the Red Sea coast.
As part of SoftBank’s ongoing push to diversify, it will also use as much as $10 billion from its Vision Fund to invest in Saudi Electricity Company. Bloomberg sources said SoftBank also plans to open some offices of its existing operations in Neom.
News of the investment in Saudi Arabia comes as SoftBank continues to be linked with a possible outlay of as much as $10 billion in taxi booking company Uber. Latest reports suggested a deal for the investment had been reached, although it is yet to be confirmed.
Earlier this month, the company’s US operator subsidiary Sprint ended talks about a potential mega merger with rival mobile player T-Mobile US.
Meanwhile, the company’s Vision Fund, which was launched in October 2016, continues to gain traction, with a focus on investing in new innovations across a range of industries.
Saudi Arabia was heavily involved in the fund from the outset, with the country’s largest sovereign wealth fund one of the founding partners – committing to a $45 billion investment in total.
Bloomberg noted SoftBank’s fresh investment would also help Saudi Arabia diversify its economy away from oil.
Putting the investment into context, the total overseas direct investment in Saudi Arabia totaled $7.45 billion in 2016, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.