As the OpenAI Soap Opera Continues, Nancy Pelosi Continues to Benefit From Her Microsoft Bets

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The ambitious CEO is fired by the company’s uptight board of directors. The fired CEO nurses his bruised ego by decamping to a quasi-competitor’s headquarters. The employees revolt against the board, baying for blood and retribution. Chaos, drama, heartbreak, and poignancy: you’d think I was narrating the plot of a fast-moving corporate thriller. Instead, these are the events currently unfolding at OpenAI’s HQ, prompting Microsoft to usurp the startup’s global AI leadership, benefitting the tech behemoth’s shareholders, including the former US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

At the time of writing, over 700 OpenAI employees have threatened to quit en masse unless the startup’s board restores Sam Altman as the CEO and tenders its resignation. These demands were first enunciated in an open letter signed by some of the most prominent names working at OpenAI, including the CTO Mira Murati and Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever.

Meanwhile, some of OpenAI’s most prominent investors are trying to convince Sam Altman to abandon Microsoft and return to lead the startup. Others are contemplating a lawsuit against the board for the arbitrary manner in which Altman was dismissed.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has also expressed qualified consent to Sam Altman returning to his previous role at OpenAI. Bear in mind that Nadella had announced yesterday that Altman would lead the tech giant’s internal AI unit and that there was a place at Microsoft for every OpenAI employee.

Microsoft at the Apex of the AI Pyramid: Nancy Pelosi’s Sizable Stake Just Got More Lucrative

This brings us to the crux of the matter. We noted yesterday that after having secured the face of AI, Sam Altman, Microsoft was poised to assume unassailable leadership in this sphere. Aided by Microsoft’s sizable coffers, Altman can play a pivotal role in attracting eligible talent. Moreover, should OpenAI lose most of its key employees, the necessity of inducting new talent and promoting junior developers would substantially curtail OpenAI’s lead over its competitors as the new occupants try to parse and understand the entire code base.

It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that Microsft shares are near all-time highs, and remain poised to eclipse Apple as the world’s most valuable company. This situation is benefitting Microsoft’s shareholders, including Nancy Pelosi, quite handsomely.

Microsoft Trades by US Politicians Sourced from Capitol Trades

Here, our readers can ask a question: why focus only on Nancy Pelosi? After all, around 41 politicians on both sides of the aisle have dabbled in the stock over the past three years. Well, the answer is quite simple: the former US House Speaker has been in near-constant limelight over her immaculately well-timed trades.

For the uninitiated, Nancy Pelosi attracted quite a lot of attention when she exercised – via her husband, Paul Pelosi – 200 call options related to 20,000 NVIDIA shares in the run-up to the CHIPS Act approval. These options were purchased back in 2021 and carried an exercise price of $100. However, after a broad-based uproar, the Pelosis were forced to liquidate their NVIDIA bet at a loss of $341,365 (you can peruse the relevant Periodic Transaction Report here).

In another instance of characteristic “foresight,” Nancy Pelosi started dumping Visa shares as a key bipartisan legislation began to attract substantial notice. The legislation aimed to break up the Mastercard-Visa duopoly. These are only some of the trades for which Pelosi has attracted attention over the past year.

Nancy Pelosi Microsoft Trades 2021

As for her recent Microsoft trades, Nancy Pelosi first bought 25,000 shares in 2021 at a strike price of $140. She also purchased 50 stock options (equivalent to 5000 shares) in 2022.

Nancy Pelosi Microsoft Trades 2023

Over the summer, Nancy Pelosi exercised those 50 call options, acquiring 5,000 Microsoft shares at $180 per share. For a complete list of her trading activity, head over to Capitol Trades.

It is estimated that Nancy Pelosi is currently in profit of around $19 million on her Microsoft bets. While there is nothing legally wrong with these trades, they do raise an ethical quandary: should US politicians be able to trade stocks given the wide sway that they hold over the prospects of some of those bets? In Microsoft’s case, it is sure to attract a competition-related inquiry further down the road if it achieves AI supremacy. Will Mrs. Pelosi be comfortable in censuring the tech giant given her lucrative stakes in the company?

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