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Linklaters advises technology giant SoftBank on launch of $100bn investment fund

Linklaters has landed a significant mandate acting for SoftBank Group Corporation on the launch of the SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology fund focusing on innovation including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and mobile applications.

Linklaters acted as counsel for the fund, which is targeting $100bn and is the largest ever private fundraise, on fund structuring, terms and regulation and the establishment of a global regulated alternative investment business. The firm’s mandate also included establishing the fund structure, drafting funds documents as well as negotiating terms of investment.

The cross-border team at Linklaters was led by investment management partners Jonathan de Lance-Holmes in London, Eriko Sakata in Tokyo and Justin Storms in New York.

Commenting on the mandate, Lance-Holmes said: ‘This transaction meant establishing a global technology investment manager from scratch and raising the world’s largest private fund in a fast-moving sector for one of the world’s leading technology firms.

‘Together with our tax, regulatory, employment, derivatives and structured products expertise, the Investment Management Group has been able to work through the challenges posed by raising a fund of this size, taking into account the relationship with SoftBank Group Corp, the fund strategy and the needs of major investors.’

The mandate is another example of Linklaters recent push into AI and innovation. In March Legal Business revealed that the firm had launched a pair of AI products, including a tool to navigate ring-fencing reforms for key clients.

Both Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have used the firm’s LinkRFI software, which is used to classify thousands of customer names in a fraction of the time it would take a human to complete.

In addition to its banking tool, Linklaters has been developing its own AI platform, named Nakhoda, for data extraction and document analysis using legal logic. The firm has formed a new collaboration with London-based AI firm Eigen Technologies to roll out the product.

Earlier this month, Macfarlanes advised UK based virtual simulation start-up Improbable on its $502m financing raised from SoftBank.

And last year Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Morrison & Foerster scored roles on SoftBank’s £24.3bn deal to acquire UK tech flagbearer ARM Holdings.