OpenAI’s tender offer continues despite leadership changes
In November, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman faced a temporary ouster as the company went through a leadership tumult and board shuffle. However, the company’s tender offer, which would allow employees to sell shares in the startup to outside investors, is still on track. CNBC spoke to two people familiar with the matter, who confirmed that the tender offer will value OpenAI at around $86 billion, the same as previously reported in October.
The round is being led by Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital and is expected to proceed as planned. It will allow investors to buy existing units predominantly from employees, enabling them to obtain liquidity without the issuance of new equity. The $86 billion round is three times more than OpenAI’s previous fundraise in April, which valued the company at around $28 billion.
The extension of the tender offer to January 5 came after a rollercoaster period for the company. Altman’s temporary departure in November led to uproar from investors and employees. However, after his return, the tender offer was able to progress.
OpenAI announced that Altman and Greg Brockman would return to their previous roles, alongside a new board. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella previously stated that Altman and Brockman would lead a new AI lab under Microsoft, creating friction and backlash from employees and investors.
Microsoft, holding a 49% stake in OpenAI, secured a non-voting board observer position at the company. Only certain major backers will receive a director position, while others, such as Tiger Global, will not pursue a board seat. OpenAI’s major backers include Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital, and Thrive Capital, which will be one of the investors involved in the upcoming tender offer.
Sequoia Capital declined to comment on its involvement in the tender, while Founders Fund revealed that it would not participate. A spokesperson for Thrive declined to comment beyond confirming its commitment to OpenAI.
The extension and continuation of the tender offer comes after significant events at OpenAI, indicating the company’s desire to move past the recent turmoil and focus on securing its future. CNBC reached out to OpenAI for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
According to CNBC’s Ari Levy and Jordan Novet. The extension and continuation of the tender offer comes after significant events at OpenAI, indicating the company’s desire to move past the recent turmoil and focus on securing its future.