Feb 29, 2024 - Technology

SEC is investigating OpenAI's communications, including Sam Altman's

Photo Illustration of Sam Altman with the openai logo

Photo Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Internal communications at OpenAI — including those of its CEO, Sam Altman — are being reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether the company's investors were misled during last November's boardroom crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Why it matters: OpenAI is now valued at more than $80 billion, and its governance has also attracted the scrutiny of antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe.

Catch up quick: OpenAI's board fired Altman as CEO and as a board member in November, citing lack of candor in his communications — but an employee revolt led to Altman's restoration days later.

Reality check: SEC officials are responsible for ensuring investors are not misled as companies and fundraisers raise capital, and enforcement actions led to orders for nearly $5 billion in compensation in fiscal year 2023.

  • But the agency frequently closes investigations without issuing accusations of wrongdoing or obtaining compensation.

Meanwhile: An internal investigation by law firm WilmerHale into the crisis that engulfed OpenAI's board is "nearing its end," the New York Times reported.

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