In the wake of the resounding success of British chip designer Arm’s initial public offering (IPO), SoftBank, the Japanese multinational conglomerate, is considering a substantial investment in OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence research lab. This move comes after the highly lucrative IPO of Arm, a company owned by SoftBank.
Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank, is reportedly exploring the possibility of investing tens of billions of dollars in the field of artificial intelligence, following the completion of Arm’s IPO. The Financial Times has shed light on SoftBank’s potential interest in forging a broad strategic partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, a renowned language generation model.
The stock of Arm witnessed an impressive surge of approximately 25 percent on its first day of trading on Nasdaq, after selling shares at $51 each during its US IPO. SoftBank, which acquired Arm for $31 billion in 2016, currently holds around 90 percent of the outstanding shares. Arm’s IPO is projected to bolster SoftBank’s financial resources, potentially increasing its war chest to an estimated $65 billion.
According to sources, SoftBank is also contemplating substantial investments in direct competitors of OpenAI. However, both SoftBank and OpenAI have refrained from commenting on these reports. Notably, Microsoft had previously invested $10 billion in OpenAI through a multi-year agreement.
Arm, a prominent UK-based chip designer, priced its shares at the upper end of the expected range during its IPO. The company specializes in developing and licensing high-performance, energy-efficient central processing unit (CPU) products and related technology.
It is worth noting that Arm was slated to be acquired by graphics chip giant Nvidia for $40 billion in 2020. However, this deal was called off in February 2022 due to substantial regulatory challenges that impeded its consummation.