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Under Scrutiny, SoftBank Tries New Deal Structures

As the U.S. government puts foreign investments into U.S. companies under the microscope, one of the world’s biggest tech investors, SoftBank, is taking complicated steps to try to insulate its deals from regulatory roadblocks.

SoftBank has split some recent venture capital deals into two parts: an initial component to acquire a voting stake just under the 10% threshold that normally would trigger a regulatory review, and a second component that involves the acquisition of non-voting shares, which tend not to be closely scrutinized by regulators. The Japanese conglomerate employed this unusual but increasingly used strategy in deals over the last three months with three U.S. startups, public filings show.

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