Oracle discloses $40 million stake in Ampere, a chip start-up founded by former Intel president Renee James

Key Points
  • Renee James, a former Intel president, launched Ampere in 2017 to develop data center processors.
  • Ampere disclosed an investment in April from Arm and Carlyle Group, but didn't name Oracle.
  • In Oracle's filing on Friday, the company said it owns less than 20% of Ampere. 
President of Intel Corporation Renee James.
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Oracle disclosed on Friday that earlier this year it invested $40 million in a start-up founded and run by Renee James, an Oracle board member.

The company, Ampere Computing, develops microprocessors for cloud servers. James, who previously spent 28 years at Intel, most recently as president, left in 2016 to join Carlyle Group, and the next year launched Ampere, where she's now taking on her former employer. She's been an Oracle board member since 2015.

Ampere announced a financing round in April from chip design firm Arm Holdings, which is now owned by SoftBank, and Carlyle Group. Oracle was not named in the press release.

Here's what Oracle said in its proxy:

In April 2019, Oracle invested $40 million in an equity fundraising round for Ampere Computing LLC (Ampere), a developer of high-performance microprocessors for cloud and edge servers. Renée J. James, an Oracle director, is the Chairman and CEO of Ampere. Oracle has appointed one director to Ampere's board. Oracle holds less than 20% of the outstanding equity of Ampere.

In addition to the investment, Oracle said it paid about $419,000 to Ampere in fiscal 2019 "for hardware used for development and testing purposes."

Ampere uses processors based on Arm architecture, providing better energy efficiency than traditional server chips. The company doesn't list any customers on its website. James, 55, was paid $445,062 by Oracle in 2019, primarily from stock awards, according to the proxy.

An Oracle spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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