SoftBank acquires shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche for US$5 billion

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SoftBank Group Company Update

According to two people familiar with the matter, SoftBank has acquired a US$5 billion non-voting stake in Swiss drugmaker Roche through its department responsible for the “Nasdaq Whale” transaction.

The architect of the investment is Aksha Nakhta, Former Deutsche Bank trader, operating SB Polaris, A tool established last year to manage public equity transactions by Japanese technology investors.

Naheta, 40, has been behind some of SoftBank’s most controversial investments.These include the so-called Nasdaq Whale, Bought billions of dollars in U.S. stock derivatives in a series of transactions that triggered a rebound in technology stocks, and the scandal-ridden German payment company Line card.

The deal was first reported by Bloomberg. A few months ago, SoftBank founder Sun Zhengyi told investors that he would Reduce investment Since SB Northstar was established in July 2020, derivatives losses have reached US$5.6 billion.

The decision to acquire a stake in a large pharmaceutical company marks a shift in SB NorthStar’s recent investments, which have been focused on technology and early-stage biotech companies. A person familiar with the matter said that the move marked Naheta’s attempt to diversify SB NorthStar’s investment portfolio.

SB NorthStar’s investment, partly funded by Son Personal money, Questioned the department’s strategy and due diligence process within SoftBank and among investors.

Roche is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers by revenue, focusing on diseases such as anti-cancer drugs and immune disease treatments.Some of these drugs are deployed targeted, or “Precision Medicine” Method, which was developed and obtained by Roche using its own data.

The Basel-based group is controlled by the Hoffmann-La Roche family, which holds 50.1% of the shares.company Disclosure Display rival Novartis, also based in Basel, owns a third.

After a protracted battle, Roche acquired the American biotechnology company Genentech for US$47 billion in 2009. The latter’s early R&D center continues to operate independently within Roche, which is the headquarters of the pharmaceutical company’s US operations.

Roche and SoftBank declined to comment. Naheta did not immediately comment.

The sales of Roche, one of the world’s “big four” diagnostic manufacturers, have already Increase In the past year, according to their needs Covid-19 test, Although it does not produce vaccines. Although sales in its pharmaceutical division have declined during the pandemic, the company said last month that the division has returned to growth, driven by a rebound in conventional healthcare.

The company’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra has been re-used Severe treatment Covid patients are recommended by the World Health Organization. Roche also developed a Covid Antibody cocktail Cooperate with American Regeneron Corporation.

Roche’s stock price has risen by 18% this year. SoftBank shares fell 1.1% on Wednesday.

Additional report by Robert Smith in London

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