Hyundai Motor Group said in an announcement on Friday (December 11) that it will acquire a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group in a deal that valued the U.S.-based robotics company at $1.1 billion.
The South Korean conglomerate will buy 80% of the company from SoftBank. Three affiliates – Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis – will own 30%, 20% and 10% stakes respectively, while the remaining 20% stake will be held by chairman Chung Eui-sun.
The deal is seen as an indicator of Hyundai Motor Group’s growing focus on robotics technologies. Chung previously showed his intention to expand investment in robotics, automobile and private air vehicle businesses for future growth.
It is expected to allow complete vehicle manufacturer Hyundai Motor and auto parts supplier Hyundai Mobis to combine advanced robotics technologies with their mobility expertise. Hyundai Glovis is likely to integrate mobile robots into its smart logistics system.
Hyundai Motor Group reportedly had a strong desire to buy the robotics company, aiming to sign the agreement before the end of this year. Goldman Sachs and South Korean law firm Kim & Chang provided advice to Hyundai Motor Group during negotiations, and U.S. law firm Latham & Watkins also acted as legal adviser.
Boston Dynamics, which was spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992, was bought by Google in 2013 and sold to SoftBank in 2017. The firm’s products include four-legged robot dog Spot and humanoid robot Atlas. (Reporting by Hye-ran Kim)