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SoftBank readies $100m investment in British firm that spies on staff

Telegraph 19 Feb 2020 05:13

SoftBank is on the brink of a $100m (£77m) investment in a British start-up that develops artificial intelligence to help employers snoop on their staff.

The Japanese technology conglomerate could close the deal with London-headquartered start-up Behavox as soon as next week. 

Softbank itself is preparing to borrow $4.5bn (£3.5bn) from investors as it struggles to shore up its finances following a string of soured bets.

Behavox - which mostly serves global companies such as investment bank Jefferies and miner Anglo American - supplies technology which can be used to spot illegal activity such as rogue trading and bribery.

The system allows employers to track workers' emails, text messages and calls in real-time. It forms part of the so-called "snoop-tech" industry, which is raising privacy concerns as bosses use ever more powerful tools to monitor what staff do at work. 

If the investment goes ahead, it will be one of the earliest bets from SoftBank's second Vision Fund. The deal was first reported by Sky News.

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