SoftBank Group Corp. is investing $500 million in mortgage lender Better as the Japanese investing giant seeks to ride a wave of swelling startup valuations.
The investment values parent Better Holdco Inc. at about $6 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. SoftBank
is buying shares from the company’s existing investors at a sharp jump from the $4 billion at which it raised money in November. Better is expected to go public later this year, some of the people said.
SoftBank has been in discussions with Better over the potential investment since late last year, some of the people said, drawn in part by the startup’s rapid growth. SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has been telling employees to hunt for fast-growing pre-IPO companies in which the investing giant can deploy capital quickly given his expectation that valuations, according to people familiar with the fund. There is an expectation that the valuation of such companies, which have benefited from factors including a buoyant IPO market, will continue rising in the near- to medium-term, the people familiar with the fund added.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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