Saudi-backed Vision Fund invests in UK’s Greensill Capital

Softbank group CEO Masayoshi Son delivers a speech during his company's financial results press conference at a hotel in Tokyo on May 9, 2019. (AFP/Charly Triballeau)
Updated 14 May 2019

Saudi-backed Vision Fund invests in UK’s Greensill Capital

BENGALURU, India: Financing group Greensill Capital on Monday confirmed SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund has invested $800 million in the British company, a vote of confidence in the UK finance sector that has been navigating Brexit challenges.
Greensill, which provides supply chain funding to companies, said it plans to use the injection to accelerate its expansion into Brazil, and enter markets like China and India, as well as tap into the working capital finance sector.
The investment from the Vision Fund, which is one of the world’s biggest technology investment vehicles and has Saudi Arabia’s backing, comes months after it invested $390 million in British banking startup OakNorth.
Bloomberg reported on Sunday that the latest round of fundraising valued Greensill at $3.5 billion.
Greensill, founded in 2011 by former banking executive Lex Greensill, works with global institutional investors, providing financing to more than 8 million customers across 60 countries.
The fundraising at Greensill comes nearly a year after private equity firm General Atlantic invested $250 million in the company, according to a report.
“With the Vision Fund, Greensill will build on its partnership with General Atlantic to continue developing its already extensive global network, and further grow its established origination and distribution strategy,” Greensill said.
Morgan Stanley was the financial adviser to Greensill and Allen & Overy was its legal adviser.
The Vision Fund’s existing investments include those in ride-hailing pioneer Uber, chip designer ARM and shared workspace firm WeWork.


Huawei in early talks with US firms to license 5G platform: executive

Updated 19 October 2019

Huawei in early talks with US firms to license 5G platform: executive

  • Currently there are no US 5G providers and European rivals Ericsson and Nokia are generally more expensive
  • Huawei has spent billions to develop its 5G technology since 2009

WASHINGTON: Blacklisted Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei is in early-stage talks with some US telecoms companies about licensing its 5G network technology to them, a Huawei executive told Reuters on Friday.
Vincent Pang, senior vice president and board director at the company said some firms had expressed interest in both a long-term deal or a one-off transfer, declining to name or quantify the companies.
“There are some companies talking to us, but it would take a long journey to really finalize everything,” Pang explained on a visit to Washington this week. “They have shown interest,” he added, saying conversations are only a couple of weeks old and not at a detailed level yet.
The US government, fearing Huawei equipment could be used to spy on customers, has led a campaign to convince allies to bar it from their 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.
Currently there are no US 5G providers and European rivals Ericsson and Nokia are generally more expensive.
In May, Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment provider, was placed on a US blacklist over national security concerns, banning it from buying American-made parts without a special license.
Washington also has brought criminal charges against the company, alleging bank fraud, violations of US sanctions against Iran, and theft of trade secrets, which Huawei denies.
Rules that were due out from the Commerce Department earlier this month are expected to effectively ban the company from the US telecoms supply chain.
The idea of a one-off fee in exchange for access to Huawei’s 5G patents, licenses, code and know-how was first floated by CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei in interviews with the New York Times and the Economist last month. But it was not previously clear whether there was any interest from US companies.
In an interview with Reuters last month, a State Department official expressed skepticism of Ren’s offer.
“It’s just not realistic that carriers would take on this equipment and then manage all of the software and hardware themselves,” the person said. “If there are software bugs that are built in to the initial software, there would be no way to necessarily tell that those are there and they could be activated at any point, even if the software code is turned over to the mobile operators,” the official added.
For his part, Pang declined to predict whether any deal might be signed. However, he warned that the research and development investment required by continuously improving the platform after a single-transfer from Huawei would be very costly for the companies.
Huawei has spent billions to develop its 5G technology since 2009.