Powerful Executives Have Stepped Away From the Saudis. Not SoftBank’s.


“At this point in time, we, like most companies that have a relationship with Saudi Arabia, are watching developments and seeing where this goes,” Mr. Claure told a group of reporters at a tech industry event in San Jose, Calif. “There are developments pretty much every hour these days.”

Mr. Son has pointed out to business associates that the SoftBank Vision Fund had a responsibility to the Saudi citizens who had entrusted his company with $45 billion from their kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, according to SoftBank officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. At the same time, these officials said, he has conveyed to executives at companies in the Vision Fund’s portfolio that they should not feel obligated to follow his lead, and must do what feels right to them.

It is a delicate balance for Mr. Son, who is on the one hand receiving investment capital from a conservative nation that built its vast wealth with oil and on the other hand using that very wealth to fund progressive young companies with a different set of values.

Since Turkish officials accused the Saudis of ordering the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a spate of foreign chief executives including Mr. Dimon, Mr. Khosrowshahi, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group and Laurence D. Fink of BlackRock has withdrawn from the conference. All their companies have financial interests in the kingdom.

Mr. Dimon’s company has an office in Riyadh with about 70 employees. Mr. Schwarzman’s firm started an infrastructure fund backed by as much as $20 billion from Saudi Arabia. Mr. Fink’s company manages billions of dollars for Saudi Arabia’s central bank. And Mr. Khosrowshahi’s company received a $3.5 billion investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, in 2016. The managing director of the fund sits on Uber’s board.

But those executives are not as deeply enmeshed with the Saudis as Mr. Son.

Mr. Son is “certainly in an uncomfortable position,” said Colin C. Blaydon, director emeritus of the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “Everyone is sort of stepping back to wait and see how all of this plays out,” he added, “and the question for the immediate, for someone like Mr. Son, is, will there be a short-term solution around this conference that then gives some breathing room to try and figure out what comes next?”

Some executives have taken more drastic efforts to distance themselves from the Saudis. Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder, has halted discussions over planned Saudi investments in two Virgin space-tourism businesses. Ariel Emanuel, the chief executive of the entertainment agency Endeavor, is working to extricate his company from a $400 million investment it recently received from the Public Investment Fund, a person familiar with the situation had said.



Source link

Comments are closed

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google
    Flirt online

    Flirt online

    Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes