SoftBank, in the wake of the successful listing of UK chip designer Arm, is actively pursuing investment opportunities in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of the Japanese conglomerate, is eyeing substantial investments in OpenAI, potentially in the tens of billions, dedicated to the field of AI following Arm’s recent IPO.
According to sources familiar with Son’s intentions, SoftBank is exploring various avenues, and one prominent option is an investment in OpenAI, a company backed by Microsoft. SoftBank is also considering the possibility of forging a comprehensive strategic partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.
Furthermore, SoftBank is not limiting its AI aspirations to OpenAI alone. The company is contemplating significant investments in competitors of ChatGPT and has even approached Graphcore, a UK-based AI chipmaker, with preliminary acquisition interest, as disclosed by insiders.
In response to inquiries, SoftBank provided a standard statement, stating, “We do not comment on rumors.” OpenAI declined to offer any comment on the matter, while Graphcore unequivocally denied receiving an offer from SoftBank.
The recent Arm IPO, which generated nearly $5 billion in proceeds, has substantially augmented SoftBank’s financial resources, potentially increasing its war chest to a staggering $65 billion. This total encompasses both the company’s liquid assets and its 90 percent stake in Arm, which may be utilized as collateral for loans.
Of particular note is Masayoshi Son’s personal affinity for ChatGPT, as he has openly declared himself a “heavy user” of the technology. His close rapport with Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, is also well-documented, with Son describing Altman as “one of the key people on Earth” and noting frequent daily interactions between the two.