German electronic-payments company Wirecard AG was in a sticky spot back in April. Its share price was under pressure after allegations about its accounting practices in Asia — strongly denied by Wirecard — prompted a police investigation in Singapore.
Later that month, Wirecard WDI, +0.79% announced a $1 billion investment and strategic partnership with an affiliate of Japan’s SoftBank 9984, +0.28% , one of the world’s largest technology investors. The market viewed the news as a vote of confidence in Wirecard, whose stock jumped 8.5% that day.
The funds, in the shape of convertible bonds, lent the Japanese tech investor’s imprimatur to Wirecard, but SoftBank Group itself put no money into deal. Instead, the money came from the personal accounts of a set of SoftBank employees and one outside investor, according to SoftBank employees with knowledge of the deal.
The money went into a fund created for the deal and managed by SoftBank Investment Advisers, the technology group’s London-based subsidiary that manages SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, an influential technology investment vehicle.
A spokesman for SoftBank said its Vision Fund didn’t invest in the Wirecard deal because publicly listed companies aren’t part of its core strategy. SoftBank declined to comment on why the broader SoftBank Group didn’t invest in the deal. Wirecard says it made the necessary disclosures to shareholders about the deal.
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