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Japan's SoftBank invests $3 billion into U.S. firm WeWork

By Sheetal Sukhija, The Tokyo News.Net
16 Nov 2018, 01:36 GMT+10

TOKYO, Japan - WeWork has announced that it has managed to secure additional funds from the Masayoshi Son-led Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group. 

In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. shared working start-up WeWork said that the company had obtained $3 billion in funding from SoftBank. 

Kumiko Hidaka, a spokesperson at the American office space-sharing company said that SoftBank's latest investment into the New York-based firm comes in addition to the $1 billion it invested in the company during the last quarter. 

Following the announcement by WeWork on Thursday, SoftBank confirmed its latest investment into the U.S. company. 

New York-based WeWork, which recently set up operations at 11 locations in Tokyo and a few more in other cities in Japan, also operates in the Americas, Europe, China, Hong Kong, India, Peru, Israel and other nations.

Describing itself as a 'platform for creators' - the U.S. firm provides office space equipped with wireless and office services to freelancers, working professionals and startups.

The firm also offers communal areas for networking and meetings, designed to make renting attractive to ventures.

Meanwhile, after establishing the world's largest private equity fund in May last year, Japan's telecoms and technology giant, SoftBank has been investing globally in various companies, solar projects and artificial intelligence.

Last year, the SoftBank Group established its over $93 billion Vision Fund with the Masayoshi Son-led Japanese firm vowing to invest $25 billion in the fund over five years, while Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia announced that it would contribute up to $45 billion over the same period.

The world's biggest such funding aimed at the technology sector, the Softbank Vision Fund boasts of Foxconn, Qualcomm, Apple and Sharp Corp. as its investors and has been growing its global technology investment portfolio rapidly since being established. 

It has so far, invested in U.S. wireless company Sprint, British IoT company ARM, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba and U.S. ride-sharing service Uber amongst several other firms globally.

However, over the last two months, the Japanese group has faced challenges including criticism for its links to Saudi Arabia, in light of the Kingdom's alleged role in the killing of veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

However, SoftBank recently announced that it would carry out an initial public offering of its Japanese mobile subsidiary in December 2019 - in what is set to become one of the world's biggest IPOs.

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