SoftBank's Misra Touts Ability to Help Firms Tap Debt Markets

(Bloomberg) -- Rajeev Misra, the fixed-income veteran who runs SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, said young companies in its portfolio are benefiting from his team’s expertise in finding less expensive sources of capital than selling additional stock.

“Debt capital is substantially cheaper than equity capital, we’ll take it any day,” Misra, formerly of Deutsche Bank AG and UBS Group AG, said Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “We have at least a dozen projects where we’re helping our portfolio companies raise capital.”

Misra commented at an event known to attract private equity executives and leaders in direct lending markets who have increasingly extended credit to small businesses and even ventures in the process of establishing themselves. Many of his remarks highlighted strengths of the Vision Fund, an unprecedentedly large technology-focused private equity effort with backers including Saudi Arabia and Apple Inc.

Portfolio companies are starting to work with one another, he said. And the Vision Fund is helping some expand regionally, especially in Asia. Real estate venture WeWork Cos. wouldn’t be in Japan, if it weren’t for the fund, he said.

Misra said he hopes the collection of ventures will eventually generate returns upwards of 25 percent, though for now, he compared it to an “early vintage wine,” with many a long way from maturing. He pointed to three initial public offerings for portfolio companies this year. Next year, he said he hopes there will be “a lot more.”

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