SoftBank secures $ 2.8 billion stake in Norwegian robotics company

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Japanese investment giant SoftBank agreed to pay $ 2.8 billion for a 40% stake in Norwegian warehouse automation company AutoStore. SoftBank SFTBY, + 4.87% will buy the stake of US buying group Thomas H. Lee Partners and Sweden’s EQT EQT, -4.54% in a deal that values ​​AutoStore at $ 7.7 billion, including debt, the two companies said in a communicated Monday night. .

SoftBank 9984, -1.12% and its Vision Fund investment portfolio have made a number of bets on robotics and artificial intelligence in recent years, which they believe will be key to driving innovation and business opportunities in sectors such as automated delivery and driving. Read: SoftBank Bets On Freight Shipping Technology In December 2020, Softbank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $ 113.5 million funding round at San Diego-based logistics technology company Flock Freight, which uses algorithms for matching trucks to cargo heading in the same direction. More recently, SoftBank-backed robotics company Berkshire Gray agreed to go public through a merger with a blank checking firm, Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp RAAC, + 0.79%, in a deal that values ​​the company. company combined at $ 2.7 billion, as a manufacturer of logistics automation systems looking to take advantage of an increase in online shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 1996, AutoStore is known for its “cube storage automation”, which enables robots to maximize storage space in warehouses. The company says it has deployed 20,000 robots in 35 countries. Its clients include German conglomerate Siemens SIE, + 0.74%, Japanese manufacturer Panasonic 6752, -1.30% and US electronics retailer Best Buy BBY, + 1.93%, according to its website. AutoStore said its technology allows customers to expand storage capacity four times without moving, allowing e-commerce companies to deliver packages faster and cheaper as online shopping increased during the COVID-pandemic. 19. Read: Home Deliveries Increase FedEx Sales Above $ 20 Billion, Profits Nearly Triple “We view AutoStore as a critical technology enabling fast and cost-effective logistics for businesses around the world,” Masayoshi said They are, President and CEO of SoftBank. The two companies will work together to “aggressively expand across end markets and geographies,” he added. Karl Johan Lier, CEO of AutoStore, said the deal with SoftBank would help fuel its growth in the Asia Pacific region. Following the SoftBank investment, Thomas H. Lee Partners will remain the majority shareholder in Autostore. The deal is expected to be completed this month. Read: SoftBank posts $ 11.12 billion third-quarter profit In a separate deal, SoftBank led a $ 1.15 billion investment in genetic testing company Invitae Corp NVTA on Monday, + 3.09% , as the Japanese conglomerate expands its portfolio of biotech and life sciences companies. The investment in San Francisco-based Invitae, which was announced Monday, was made through SoftBank’s asset management group, SB Management, which in February invested $ 900 million in DNA sequencing company Pacific Biosciences. Of California.