Google acquires artificial intelligence start-up Deep Mind Technologies for alleged £242m

Major purchase of “secretive” company to see global tech firm expand its robotics division

Google is understood to have purchased London-based artificial intelligence (AI) business Deep Mind Technologies for an estimated £242m, marking one of the internet giant’s largest European acquisitions.

Established by computer scientist Demis Hassabis and entrepreneurs Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman in 2010, Deep Mind Technologies specialises in developing AI technology to create computer systems capable of playing computer games, with its goal to develop computers that “think like humans”.

Cambridge graduate with a triple first in computer science and a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience, Hassabis co-founded the company following several successful ventures in the gaming industries including co-writing popular game Theme Park, and founder of computer game Evil Genius.

Deep Mind attracted the backing of several leading investors when it launched, including the likes of US Tesla car mogul Elon Musk, early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, and founder of news app Summly; teenage multi-millionaire and 2013 Young Gun, Nick D’Aloisio, who are all expected to receive “windfalls” following the sale.

Google founder Larry Page is said to have led the move to buy the intelligence start-up, and is claimed to have beaten Facebook to it, as part of a drive to explore smart technology and robotics that will allow it to go into space travel and create self-driving cars.

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