OpenAI’s board of directors reportedly approached rival Anthropic’s CEO about merging the two startups and replacing former CEO Sam Altman, according to Reuters who cited two people briefed on the matter. 

Dario Amodei, the CEO of Anthropic and former OpenAI executive, declined both of the company’s advances, the sources said. 

The news comes after OpenAI’s board announced on Friday (17 November) that it was removing Altman from the company. 

OpenAI claimed Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board”.

On Sunday, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear agreed to the OpenAI board’s offer to become interim chief executive. 

At the same time, Altman and other former OpenAI colleagues agreed to join Microsoft‘s new advanced artificial intelligence (AI) research team.

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By GlobalData

Since Altman’s departure from the company, almost all of the company’s 700 employees have threatened to quit, including an executive on the company’s dwindling four-person board.

The ChatGPT maker said it was in “intense discussions” to try and unify the company. 

Anna Makanju, vice president of global affairs at OpenAI, wrote in a memo to employees that management was in contact with Altman, Shear and the board “but they are not prepared to give us a final response this evening”.

The co-founders of Anthropic were former executives at OpenAI until 2020. They left the company three years ago after disagreeing on the safe development of AI. 

In October, Google agreed to invest up to $2bn in Anthropic.

Anthropic is the developer of Claude 2, a rival generative AI chatbot to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It is currently being used by companies including Quora and Slack.

Anthropic was valued at $4.1bn in early 2023.