Sept 16 (Reuters) – SoftBank is pursuing deals in artificial intelligence (AI), including a possible investment in OpenAI, following the successful IPO of its Arm unit, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.
SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son intends to invest tens of billions of dollars in AI, according to the newspaper, which cites two people familiar with Son’s ideas.
The executive said in June that his technology investment conglomerate planned to shift its stance into “offensive mode” amid enthusiasm over advances in AI.
The Japanese tech investment firm could also look to establish a broad strategic partnership with OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT, according to the FT.
Son has expressed his enthusiasm for AI technology, adding that he is a “big user” of ChatGPT, the AI chatbot from Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI. He has also said that he speaks “almost every day” with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.
SoftBank is also studying a number of alternatives to OpenAI, including a preliminary approach to buy Graphcore, a UK-based AI chip maker, the report added.
In an email response to Reuters, Graphcore denied there was an attempt or offer by SoftBank to buy the company.
SoftBank and OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chip designer Arm earned a valuation of $54.5 billion in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday, seven years after SoftBank took the company private for $32 billion.
The investment giant has been in “defense mode” since May 2022, after technology stocks plummeted due to the sharp rise in interest rates and jitters that affected the global banking sector. (Reporting by Lavanya Ahire in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing in Spanish by Manuel Farías)