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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala investing billions in life sciences, Telegram, and ESG

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi-based $230 billion sovereign wealth fund, is ever busy keeping an eye on business returns via investments in profitable financial pipelines

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. will invest $1.1 billion in UK life sciences businesses Telegram took $75 million from Mubadala by selling 5-year pre-IPO convertible bonds Mubadala is hiring two senior bankers to help evaluate ESG-related risks and opportunities

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi-based $230 billion sovereign wealth fund, is ever busy keeping an eye on business returns via investments in profitable financial pipelines, but it’s also keen to stay ever so vigilant towards social and environmental causes, albeit the adoption of sustainable investing practices is central to asset allocation and corporate decision making today.

UK’s life sciences 

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. will invest $1.1 billion in UK life sciences businesses as part of efforts to boost the sector following the coronavirus pandemic, the British government said.

The money will help life sciences companies “scale and grow,” the Department for International Trade said in a recent statement. 

The commitment spans 5 years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has vowed to turn the country into a science superpower and wants to ensure that home-grown companies remain rooted in the UK amid concern that domestic startups are too often sold off to foreign companies before they have a chance to scale up and generate bigger benefits for Britain.

The joint UAE-UK fund will bring new venture capital into the UK market.

Telegram

Telegram, which celebrated 500 million users recently, announced it’s pulled in over $1 bn in debt financing by selling bonds.

Founder Pavel Durov put out an update via his official Telegram channel after a press announcement where he revealed that the company had taken in $150 million total from Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners by selling 5-year pre-IPO convertible bonds.

“This will enable Telegram to continue growing globally while sticking to its values and remaining independent,” he said. 

He also committed not to sell Telegram, reiterating then that he wants it to remain independent.  

“We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users,” was Durov’s strategic vision last December. Now he’s got the debt war chest to execute on the plan.

Mubadala is throwing in $75 million in exchange for 5-year pre-IPO convertible bonds of Telegram, according to a press release.

The investment is touted as a strategic partnership, with Mubadala anticipating benefits for Abu Dhabi’s startup ecosystem by having a local Telegram presence drawing in skills and talent to the capital.

As per Reuters, Telegram will be opening an office in Abu Dhabi following the investment, building out its regional presence from a Dubai, UAE base.

Telegram’s usage has continued to swell this year, boosted by users switching from Facebook-owned WhatsApp over privacy concerns

ESG 

Mubadala is hiring two senior bankers to help evaluate ESG-related risks and opportunities for existing and new investments, according to a job advertisement on LinkedIn. 

Although the adoption of sustainable investing practices is increasingly central to asset allocation and corporate decision-making, many wealth funds have lagged on ESG standards. 

A recent report by the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds found that only 30% of a group of 34 responding institutions had more than 10% of their portfolios invested in climate-related strategies.

Last November, Mubadala joined the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Funds initiative, a coalition established to integrate climate change into its priorities. Abu Dhabi’s government-run oil company ADNOC is teaming up with Mubadala and another one of its wealth funds to turn the emirate into an exporter of blue and green hydrogen.

The new unit will be the “steward of the continued institutionalization of Responsible Investing practices across the company,” Mubadala said in a statement.

NMC Healthcare on the radar screen

Mubadala is considering buying NMC Health’s core hospital business, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, emerging as another suitor of the troubled hospital group.

NMC, the largest private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates, ran into trouble last year after the disclosure of more than $4 bn in hidden debt left many UAE and overseas lenders with heavy losses.

The company, now in administration, is exploring the possibility of selling its healthcare business in the UAE and Oman, which sources have previously said could generate around $1 bn.