Akshay Naheta climbs the ladder at SoftBank Corp
Akshay Naheta, 39, is the latest SoftBank senior executive to catch the eye of the Japanese group’s founder and mercurial technology billionaire, Masayoshi Son, following the rapid rise of Nikesh Arora and Rajeev Misra, who currently heads its famed Vision Fund.
The Mumbai-born hotshot executive’s ascent within the technology-to-telecoms conglomerate is likely to get a further boost as he spearheaded the just announced mega sale of SoftBank’s Arm Holdings to US chipmaker NVIDIA for $40 billion, among the largest transactions executed in the semiconductor industry.
SoftBank had bought Arm for $32 billion four years ago. Naheta’s separate public market investment in NVIDIA also saw the Vision Fund making an exit when it sold its entire stake in the Santa Clara-based firm earlier this year for more than $3 billion. Amid the hectic deal-making, the former Deutsche Bank trader was recently elevated to report directly to Son, moving internally from being a Managing Partner at the Vision Fund to his new role as Senior Vice President at SoftBank group in June.
This makes him among the youngest executives to have close access to the SoftBank chief.
A hedge fund manager who founded and ran London-based Knight Assets & Co before joining SoftBank in 2017, Naheta was involved in investments across companies like NVIDIA, pharmaceutical firm Roivant Sciences and German online car trader Auto1.
A person familiar with the goings-on at the group, said Naheta was brought in to assist Son and others in the planned $43 billion asset sale process that SoftBank has embarked upon amid massive losses incurred by the group after debacles at WeWork and other Vision Fund portfolio companies.
Naheta has since been involved in the planned sale of shares of Chinese internet giant Alibaba as SoftBank offloaded $13.7 billion of its holding. According to a report in May, Naheta, who relocated to Abu Dhabi from London, would help Son in managing the conglomerate’s investments and will “provide strategic advice to its global management team”.
Naheta, being around at Soft-Bank since 2017, his investment strategy, which was largely concentrated around the public markets, has started diversifying. He was also reportedly involved in the fundraising of its Vision Fund-2, which has yet to be closed since most Limited Partners or sponsors have not shown interest in backing the technology-focussed fund.