SoftBank Makes $800 Million Bet on U.K Financier Greensill

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund is betting $800 million on Greensill in its second big investment in a U.K. financial services firm this year.

The investment values privately held Greensill at about $3.5 billion, founder Lex Greensill said in an interview on Bloomberg Television on Monday. That’s more than double the valuation the firm fetched when General Atlantic bought a stake in July.

Greensill plans to use the capital to grow into new markets including India, Brazil and China. The Vision Fund will have representatives on the company’s board as part of the investment, Lex Greensill said. The deal marks SoftBank’s second investment into non-traditional finance companies in the U.K. this year after earlier leading a $440 million round of funding into bespoke lender OakNorth Holdings.

After the investment from SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, the firm won’t need additional funding immediately, but will consider options including an initial public offering “as time goes by,” Lex Greensill said in the interview.

Greensill provides working-capital finance, buying invoices and trade receivables from companies who want to be paid more quickly for their services and packaging them into bonds to sell to investors, according to its website. The firm estimates that more than $55 trillion in cash is locked up in working capital.

Still, the firm’s growth hasn’t been without setbacks. A supply chain finance fund it runs with beleaguered Swiss asset manager GAM Holding AG has lost key clients in recent weeks as companies including Vodafone Group Plc redeemed money.

The fund, which has been given a AA rating by Scope Ratings, is a short-term, money-market like fund “and consequently there will be inflows and outflows,” Lex Greensill said. "We have a great relationship with GAM and expect to continue to work with them into the future."

Lex Greensill, whose firm counts former British Prime Minister David Cameron as adviser, said while Greensill would like to see some certainty around the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, the threat of Brexit has not changed his view on remaining based in London.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.