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Tiny AI chip designer could become Arm's sibling - Softbank rumored to be interested in buying cash-strapped Graphcore with its IPU crown jewel likely to be the target

 Graphcore .
Graphcore .

Graphcore, a UK-based AI chip designer that was once considered a potential rival to Nvidia, is now exploring a sale after struggling to capitalize on the AI boom.

Despite substantial funding, including over $700m from investors such as Microsoft and Sequoia, the company's revenue fell by 46% last year, and losses have since widened. The company has been unable to compete with Nvidia's graphics processing units, which have seen soaring demand during the AI revolution.

Rumored potential buyers for Graphcore include British microchip company Arm, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank (which has a majority share in Arm), and AI darling OpenAI. However, it remains unclear how advanced these sale discussions are.

Running out of cash

Graphcore meanwhile continues to engage in independent fundraising talks, seeking new funding to cover its mounting losses. The company has already laid off staff and closed international offices in a bid to slash costs.

Yahoo! Finance says the company's current financial situation indicates that it needs to raise more funds by May to stay afloat. This comes after a failed deal with Microsoft, in which the tech behemoth reportedly initially agreed to use Graphcore's chips in its cloud computing systems but later backed out.

While the future of Graphcore remains uncertain, the company's intelligence processing units could be a valuable asset in the rapidly expanding AI market. However, any sale, which could be north of $500m, is likely to be scrutinized by national security officials due to the strategic importance of AI technology.

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