Chipmaker Qualcomm is going to invest in a new $100 billion (£82 billion) tech fund, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The fund was announced last October by Masayoshi Son, the billionaire CEO of SoftBank, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, who is the second deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia and the youngest minister of defence in the world.
At the time, The Financial Times reported that the fund — to be run by a new subsidiary company in London and invested over a five-year period — will be made up of $45 billion (£37 billion) from Saudi Arabia, $25 billion (£20 billion) from SoftBank, and $35 billion (£28 billion) from other “global investors.” SoftBank, which operates technology and telecommunications companies worldwide, said the fund would be the “largest of its kind” and that it would be used to back new technology companies.
Qualcomm, headquartered in San Diego, has moved toward “finalising its commitment in recent days,” according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The size of Qualcomm’s commitment is unknown.
Other tech companies, including Apple, have also been linked to the new mega-fund, with the iPhone maker said to be considering a $1 billion (£815 million) investment. Unlike other US tech giants, Apple does not operate its own venture capital unit. However, it has invested in companies in the past, including a $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China. It also invests in complementary companies like ARM — a Cambridge, UK, company that designs the chips used in the iPhone.
Half of the new fund’s capital will be allocated to US tech companies, according to US president-elect Donald Trump, who said investments made through the fund will help to create 50,000 jobs in the country.
SoftBank, which recently agreed to spend $32 billion (£26 billion) on ARM, is already heavily invested in the US. In 2013, the company paid $22 billion (£18 billion) for a controlling stake in US telco Sprint. However, that investment has lost around $7 billion (£6 billion) of its value as Sprint has lost market share to rival firms, according to the BBC.
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