A top Goldman Sachs banker is leaving to join the world’s biggest technology investment fund in a sign of the increasing allure of giant private capital pools to Wall Street’s leading dealmakers.
Sky News has learnt that Michael Ronen, the co-chief operating officer of Goldman’s global technology, media and telecom group, is to become a partner at SoftBank’s $93bn Vision Fund, which counts Apple, Qualcomm and the Saudi royal family among its backers.
Mr Ronen’s move, which has yet to be announced, is a further indication of the clout of the new fund, which outranks any other single pool of capital raised for investment in the global technology sector.
The Goldman banker, who is expected to join SoftBank after the summer, has been with the Wall Street giant since 1998, according to a biography published on its website.
He will based on the US west coast, underlining the new fund’s effort to establish a formidable presence in the world’s most important hub for investment in technology companies.
News of Mr Ronen’s move comes days after Sky News revealed that the SoftBank Vision Fund was in talks to invest in Deliveroo, the British food delivery app.
The delivery app’s latest funding round could see it raise a similar sum to the $275m it attracted from investors nearly a year ago, according to insiders.
The valuation that would be attributed to Deliveroo by its new fundraising would see it smash the £1bn barrier that leads to tech companies being labelled as ‘unicorns’, they added.
If SoftBank’s Vision Fund – which was set up to take big stakes in emerging technology companies – does proceed with the deal, it would be the Japanese group’s latest big British investment.
Last year, SoftBank paid £24bn to acquire ARM Holdings, the chip designer, which represented the belief of SoftBank’s founder, Masayoshi Son, that the ‘internet of things’ will shape much of the world’s future consumer behaviour.
A 25% stake in Arm has been placed into the Vision Fund following its launch.
SoftBank has forked out billions of dollars to buy stakes in companies as diverse as Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing app, Nvidia, a US chip-maker, and Improbable, a UK-based artificial reality start-up.
It has also invested $1.4bn in Paytm, an Indian digital payments and e-commerce company.
Deliveroo, which handles takeaway orders for restaurant chains such as Byron, PizzaExpress, Rossopomodoro and Wagamama, appears to be a less obvious target for the new fund’s capital, given Mr Son’s ambition of using it to back companies with genuinely revolutionary prospects.
The fund’s other investors include Foxconn and Sharp, the Asian technology companies, and Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi-based fund.
Mr Ronen’s hiring makes his the latest defection from the ranks of large investment banks.
Colin Fan, a former Deutsche Bank executive, was recruited last month to join the Vision Fund by Rajeev Misra, who was appointed by Mr Son to run it.
A SoftBank Vision Fund spokesman declined to comment.
Source: SKY News