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Startups

Without Saudi support, SoftBank opts to back WeWork directly

Massive infusion casts cloud over Vision Fund 2 aspirations

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, and SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son are seen together in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are said to be reluctant to invest in WeWork.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group's plan to provide financing for the parent of office-sharing startup WeWork on its own signals a lack of support among Saudi backers of its $100 billion Vision Fund.

The $5 billion financial package, hastily put together under the direction of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, would raise the Japanese tech conglomerate's stake in We Co. without turning it into a consolidated subsidiary. And SoftBank itself will provide the support, not the SoftBank Vision Fund. The two have already invested more than $10 billion in the company.

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