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SoftBank in talks with Saudi Arabia's PIF for Vision Fund 2

SoftBank Group Corp. founder and CEO Masayoshi Son said the company is in negotiations with SoftBank Vision Fund LP's main backers Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and Mubadala Investment Co. for its recently announced Vision Fund 2.

During an earnings briefing Aug. 7, Son said the investors had shown "high interest" in a second Vision Fund when the first was set up and that the company has "maintained good relations" with both backers.

In November 2018, Son said the Japanese technology conglomerate would monitor the investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi before accepting new Saudi investments.

When asked about these comments during the briefing, Son said: "That is an incident that should never have happened. When it comes to the specifics, we are still in negotiations with them. We have to continue with our artificial intelligence and technology efforts. At this point in time, I have to refrain from making further comments."

In July, SoftBank Group confirmed the rollout of its much-anticipated SoftBank Vision Fund 2, worth roughly US$108 billion. The new fund, which will invest in AI-focused technology companies, has already pulled in investors including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. SoftBank itself will invest US$38 billion.

For the fiscal first quarter to June 30, SoftBank Group reported net income attributable to the owners of the parent of about ¥1.122 trillion, or ¥532.09 per share, a year-over-year boost of 257.6% from ¥313.69 billion, or ¥140.07 per share. The basic GAAP EPS for the period was ¥534.89, up from ¥140.77 year over year. S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus EPS estimate for the first quarter ended June 30 was ¥391.41 on a GAAP basis.

The considerable gains were related to the settlement of contracts using Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shares, the company said .

SoftBank Vision Fund held 81 investments as of June 30, up from 69 investments at the end of March.

Group net sales rose 2.8% year over year to ¥2.336 trillion in the reporting period, from the prior fiscal year's ¥2.273 trillion.

The company reported a 3.7% year-over-year decrease in operating income to ¥688.82 billion during the first quarter. However, operating income from SoftBank Vision Fund and Delta Fund was about ¥397.63 billion for the three-month period to June 30, up from ¥239.94 billion in the prior year due to unrealized valuation gains on investments of ¥408.51 billion.

The company is reportedly considering listing its first US$100 billion Vision Fund as part of its fundraising plans, a move analysts say will bring greater transparency to the fund's varied investments. Son did not mention any IPO plans during the briefing.

As of Aug. 6, US$1 was equivalent to ¥106.34.