Tech

Softbank raises eyebrows with talks to buy a slice of Swiss Re

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Softbank has raised eyebrows after a confirmation it is in talks with Swiss Re about taking a minority stake in the insurance behemoth.

The pair are "engaged in preliminary discussions", Swiss Re revealed in a statement this morning. However, "there is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed".

"I don't quite get this Softbank interest in Swiss Re," said Mirabaud Securities global thematic co-head Neil Campling.

Softbank is supposed to be more a tech visionary business and not a conglomerate. Getting into insurance in a disruptive way, like their acquisition of Lemonade which uses AI to accelerate claims processing does make sense, but not traditional reinsurance.

He continued: "Investing in an overcapitalised industry that has no obvious synergies with any of the other holding can only lead to an even greater discount to the value of its holdings – because it will result in a clear general industry conglomerate not a leading tech visionary company."

Read more: Softbank plots digital payments raid with plans for Paypal rival

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Softbank's spending spree has continued at pace. Recent accounts filings revealed around a third of its $100bn Vision Fund have already been deployed.

In January, Softbank invested €460m in Auto1, a Berlin-based online marketplace for buying and selling cars.

And it was reported two weeks ago the tech giant was planning to create a global digital payments system that could rival giants such as PayPal.

Read more: SoftBank is backing one of Europe's most valuable startups

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