UK investor to help manage SoftBank's $144b tech fund

Knight Assets's chief investment officer Akshay Naheta has joined SoftBank Group to help manage its new US$100 billion (S$144 billion) technology vehicle.
Knight Assets's chief investment officer Akshay Naheta has joined SoftBank Group to help manage its new US$100 billion (S$144 billion) technology vehicle.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON • The founder of a London-based investment fund that focused on what it called "constructive activism" has joined SoftBank Group to help manage its new US$100 billion (S$144 billion) technology vehicle.

Knight Assets's chief investment officer Akshay Naheta joined SoftBank's Vision Fund and will help guide its public equity investments and potential acquisitions, according to a person with knowledge of the appointment. Knight, which was in the process of launching a new US$500 million fund, will be slowly wound down, the person said.

Spokesmen for SoftBank and Knight declined to comment.

Mr Naheta, a former Deutsche Bank trader, founded Knight in 2011. The fund focused on a small number of investments in mid-sized public companies, from Rolls Royce Holdings to Bollywood film studio Eros International.

Since Knight's launch, its US$416 million in investments have yielded an average internal rate of return of 112.5 per cent.

Mr Rajeev Misra, head of strategic finance at SoftBank as well as its Vision Fund, and adviser Nizar Al-Bassam previously had spells at Deutsche Bank.

SoftBank recently decided to base the headquarters of the fund in west London's Mayfair, and has already hired about a dozen people for its office there.

The Vision Fund is set to close this month and has recently raised interest from Apple, Qualcomm and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'UK investor to help manage SoftBank's $144b tech fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe