After Arm went public, the first thing Sun Zheng wanted to do: invest in OpenAI?

科創板日報 ·  09/18 17:23

Source: Science and Technology Innovation Board Daily

  1. Arm's initial public offering on Thursday raised nearly 5 billion US dollars, which will expand SoftBank's capital scale to 65 billion US dollars;
  2. The report said that both OpenAI and OpenAI's competitors are potential investment targets.

For$SOFTBANK GROUP CO(SFTBY.US)$As far as Sun Zhengyi is concerned, the chip design company$Arm Holdings(ARM.US)$It was successfully listed, and the investment “ammunition depot” was replenished in a timely manner, and its next main position has already been determined — AI.

On September 16, local time, the Financial Times reportedAfter Arm is listed, SoftBank CEO Sun Zhengyi hopes to continue investing tens of billions of dollars in the AI field. OpenAI is one of the potential investment targets.

A competitor to invest in OpenAI is also under consideration by Sun Zhengyi. The report says that Sun Zhengyi is also planning to acquire the British chip company Graphcore to deepen its in-depth layout in the AI field.

However, the three companies mentioned above all responded to this rumor other than affirmative. SoftBank and OpenAI said they “declined to comment,” while Graphcore directly denied “receiving a takeover offer from SoftBank.”

Regardless of who it invests in the AI field, SoftBank seems eager to try it out.According to people close to Sun Zhengyi's inner circle, Sun Zhengyi's enthusiasm for investment has rebounded strongly in recent months and will switch to “offensive mode”.

Last Thursday, US time, Arm was listed on the NASDAQ exchange and is highly sought after by investors. The company's IPO rose nearly 25% on the first day, and its market capitalization exceeded US$65 billion, making it the world's largest IPO of the year. After two trading days, Arm currently has a stock price of $60.75 and a market capitalization of $62.3 billion.

After Arm's IPO, SoftBank still controlled about 90% of the company's shares, and Sun Zheng continued to serve as Chairman of Arm's Board of Directors. Forbes estimates that Masayoshi Sun's net worth is over $24 billion, ranking 69th on the list of the world's richest people.

Analysts said in this regard,Arm's initial public offering on Thursday raised nearly 5 billion US dollars, which will expand SoftBank's capital to 65 billion US dollars, including SoftBank's own cash and using 90% of its remaining shares in Arm as collateral for loans.

Unsurprisingly, Sun Zhengyi chose AI. Since this year, he has hinted at this investment direction three or five times in public.

On the day ARM went public, SoftBank CEO Sun Zhengyi was very supportive of AI in an interview, saying that artificial intelligence can help solve some of the world's biggest problems and may surpass human intelligence. “I think I'm an AI believer. I'm optimistic that artificial intelligence will solve problems humans couldn't solve in the past.”

In June of this year, Sun Zhengyi said at SoftBank's annual shareholders' meeting that artificial intelligence is bringing about explosive changes, and that the company will soon launch an offensive to end the relatively dormant state of the venture capital sector for over a year. “Now is the time to shift gears; the singularity of the artificial intelligence revolution is about to arrive. In the next 10 years, artificial intelligence will change the world, and SoftBank will become a leader in the field of artificial intelligence. Moreover, SoftBank has prepared enough ammunition.”

He describes himself as a “heavy user” of ChatGPT, chats with him almost every day, and has a close relationship with OpenAI CEO Samartman. Sun Zheng described Altman as “one of the key people on Earth.”

According to media reports, SoftBank's mobile division has established a business partnership with OpenAI to provide services to Japanese companies that want to deploy generative artificial intelligence technology such as chatbots. Additionally, the SoftBank Mobile subsidiary said it wants to develop its own Japanese version of ChatGPT.

SoftBank, a former global technology investment giant, will re-enter the AI arms race. However, it is important to note that SoftBank is currently facing huge challenges. The financial report for the first quarter showed that the SoftBank Vision Fund lost 297.5 billion yen in three months, equivalent to 15.33 billion yuan, compared to 2.2 trillion yen in the same period of the previous year, which was 113.33 billion yuan.

Due to poor investment, it was previously reported that SoftBank Group is planning a new round of layoffs for its investment division, Vision Fund. It is expected to be announced within the next two weeks, affecting up to 30% of its employees.

The huge losses also caused SoftBank to drastically curtail its investment activities. According to data from Finance Association Venture Connect - China, since this year, the SoftBank Vision Fund (No. 1 and 2) has only made 4 investments, of which only one of the invested companies is AI-related.


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