SoftBank Group reportedly set its sights on plunging billions of dollars into AI technology following its listing of chip designer Arm, with Chat-GPT maker OpenAI one of a number of possible investment opportunities.
Financial Times (FT) reported SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured) has developed a close relationship with OpenAI boss Sam Altman and the Japanese company is considering a range of options to deepen ties, including a broad strategic partnership between the pair.
SoftBank’s Japanese mobile unit has already struck a deal with OpenAI to help companies in Japan deploy generative AI services.
However, SoftBank is also looking at alternatives for investment, which could mean it bolsters direct rivals of OpenAI. It has also made a preliminary approach to acquire UK-based chip maker Graphcore, added FT sources, as it looks to ramp up competition with Nvidia.
SoftBank raised almost $5 billion in an IPO of Arm last week through a 10 per cent stake sale, which valued the entire chip design company at $54.5 billion.
A renowned dealmaker, Son stated he was in “defence mode” during the technology downturn in 2022 as he targeted improving SoftBank’s cash position. Arm’s anticipated IPO was also a major focus for several months.
However, with the listing deemed largely successful, FT sources believe Son has got an appetite back for dealmaking with AI a major target.