Saudi Arabia, Technology

SoftBank tech fund onboards Deutsche Bank’s chief for Saudi Arabia

SoftBank Group is reportedly hiring the head of Deutsche Bank AG’s unit in Saudi Arabia to lead a new office in Riyadh, Wall Street Journal reported.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

The report, which cited people familiar with the matter, said the move is yet another step to deepening the partnership between the Japanese firm and the kingdom.

SoftBank Investment Advisers is appointing Deutsche’s Ziyad Al Ashaikh to build a team in Saudi Arabia and help the fund’s portfolio companies set up in the country, the report said.

SoftBank Investment Advisers manages the $100 billion Vision Fund, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, or PIF, is the biggest single investor with a $45 billion stake.

The Saudi sovereign-wealth fund has already begun working with SoftBank Investment Advisers to bring tech startups to the kingdom, the people said.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is eager to attract international firms to help transform his country and diversify its oil-dependent economy. The 32-year-old royal has developed a high-profile relationship with the firm’s chief executive Masayoshi Son and helped the Vision Fund become the biggest investor in technology globally.

Last year, it has been reported that the multinational firm plans to use up to $15 billion in NEOM, which Prince Salman plans to build on the Red Sea coast, as a part of the country’s 2030 vision.

SoftBank already has presence in the United States and London, while Saudi Arabia is vying to entice major financial and technology players as it looks to accelerate its bid to diversify its economy away from a dependence on oil.

Last month, SoftBank announced that it will be hiring former Deutsche Bank AG executive Faisal Rahman to head operations in the Middle East for the division that manages its almost $100 billion fund.

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