Bahrain sovereign fund eyes stake in SoftBank vehicle

Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, is considering investing in a private equity fund of SoftBank, a Japanese multinational.

The fund, which has $93 billion in assets under management, has attracted support from other Gulf state funds such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala.

Mahmood AlKooheji told Reuters that “we are talking to [Softbank] but we haven’t made any commitment yet” and described the opportunity as “very interesting”.

The majority of Mumtalakat’s $10 billion portfolio is focused on Bahrain, where it owns companies such as Aluminium Bahrain and telecoms firm Batelco.

An investment in Softbank’s private equity fund would be a further demonstration of Mumtalakat’s strategy to widen the geographic extent of its portfolio, although its chief executive ruled out the prospect of investing heavily in frontier markets.

“We’re not a venture sovereign wealth fund, we don’t take a lot of risk, we look for solid investments, where we know management is there, corporate governance is there, transparency is there,” he said.

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