SoftBank to invest up to $25 billion in Saudi Arabia: Bloomberg

The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T plans to invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

SoftBank plans to deploy up to $15 billion in the new high-tech city of NEOM, with the SoftBank Vision Fund planning an investment of as much as $10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co 5110.SE, Bloomberg reported.

With Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund one of the largest investors in the Vision Fund, the investments would see funds being funneled back to the country, whose authorities have launched an anti-corruption crackdown on the kingdom’s political and business elite.

Besides SoftBank and the Saudi wealth fund, investors in Vision Fund include the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, Apple AAPL.O and Foxconn 2317.TW.

A SoftBank spokesman declined on Thursday to comment on the Bloomberg report.

Vision Fund had announced in May it raised over $93 billion from investors to fund ventures in areas including artificial intelligence and robotics.

Saudi Arabia has previously announced plans to sell a large minority stake in Saudi Electricity to the Vision Fund but the figures have not been made public.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters in an interview in October that the $500 billion mega-city of NEOM will be floated on financial markets alongside oil giant Saudi Aramco as part of the kingdom’s drive to diversify away from oil.

Saudi authorities this month have arrested prominent royals, officials and businessmen in the corruption crackdown. Prince Mohammed, who has risen from obscurity three years ago, is seen as tightening his grip on power with the anti-corruption campaign.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Sam Nussey in Tokyo; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Muralikumar Anantharaman