Japanese mobile-phone and technology conglomerate SoftBank (SFTBY) plans to lend up to $20 billion to its employees to buy stakes in its second giant venture-capital fund as the Japanese investment company preps to roll out capital to more technology companies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the fund would lend employees billion in capital, including CEO Masayoshi Son, who will re-invest the money in SoftBank's own Vision venture fund. Son may account for as much as $15 billion of that amount, according to sources.
At $20 billion, the employee pool would represent nearly a fifth of the money that SoftBank said in July it had lined up for its second Vision Fund, a successor to a $100 billion fund that launched in 2017 and is nearly spent.
It is an unusual setup that would doubly expose SoftBank to new start-up tech companies that are starting to lose their sheen among investors - particularly with the IPO stampede slowing significantly from earlier this year.
SoftBank controls Sprint (S) - Get Report and other telecom companies. It launched its first fund with $60 billion in backing from government investment funds from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, and quickly roiled the tech market by making huge investments in Uber (UBER) - Get Report , WeWork, which is prepping its own IPO for next month and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology, among others.