Saudi-backed fund plans investment in British digital bank Oaknorth

Softbank is in discussions to invest hundreds of millions in British bank Oaknorth (Source: Getty)

The world’s largest technology fund could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into British unicorn Oaknorth.

The deal would make Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund an indirect shareholder in the digital bank.

Read more: Acorn OakNorth rises to $2.3bn valuation as it closes fresh $100m fundraise

Softbank’s Vision Fund, in which the Saudis are the largest investor, has held discussions to acquire a major stake in Oaknorth since the summer, Sky News reported.

Oaknorth, which lends money to small businesses, this week appointed a former Bank of England director to its advisory board.

Read more: US Treasury secretary withdraws from Saudi conference

If the deal goes through Oaknorth would likely become the first UK company sold to a Saudi-backed investor since the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier today international trade secretary Liam Fox withdrew from an investor conference in Riyadh, joining dozens of other politicians and business leaders protesting Khashoggi’s disappearance.