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Hyundai Motor Group to acquire controlling stake in Boston Dynamics

FILE PHOTO: A boy in a stroller reacts to Boston Dynamics' four-legged robot Spot during its demonstration at Tokyo Robot Collection, Japan (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A boy in a stroller reacts to Boston Dynamics' four-legged robot Spot during its demonstration at Tokyo Robot Collection, Japan (REUTERS)

Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80% stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20% stake in the robotics company after the closing of the transaction

Hyundai Motor Group and SoftBank Group Corp. (SoftBank) agreed on main terms of the transaction under which Hyundai will acquire a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics, a robotics design company. The deal values the mobile robot firm at $1.1 billion.

Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80% stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20% stake in Boston Dynamics after the closing of the transaction.

Hyundai Motor Group has also invested substantially in the development of technologies in fields such as autonomous driving technology, connectivity, eco-friendly vehicles, smart factories, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and robots.

According to a statement released by the company, advanced robotics offer opportunities for rapid growth with the potential to positively impact society in multiple ways. Boston Dynamics is the established leader in developing agile, mobile robots that have been successfully integrated into various business operations.

“We are delighted to have Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots, join the Hyundai team. This transaction will unite capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics to spearhead innovation in future mobility. The synergies created by our union offer exciting new pathways for our companies to realize our goal - providing free and safe movement and higher plane of life experiences for humanity," said Euisun Chung, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. "We will also contribute to the society by enhancing its safety, security, public health amid global trends of aging society and digital transformation."

Masayoshi Son, Representative Director, Corporate Officer, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group said, “Boston Dynamics is at the heart of smart robotics. We are thrilled to partner with Hyundai, one of the world’s leading global mobility companies, to accelerate the company’s path to commercialization. Boston Dynamics has a very bright future and we remain invested in the company’s success."

“Boston Dynamics’ commercial business has grown rapidly as we've brought to market the first robot that can automate repetitive and dangerous tasks in workplaces designed for human-level mobility. We and Hyundai share a view of the transformational power of mobility and look forward to working together to accelerate our plans to enable the world with cutting edge automation, and to continue to solve the world’s hardest robotics challenges for our customers," said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics.

Boston Dynamics produces mobile robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence, enabling automation in difficult, dangerous, or unstructured environments. The company launched sales of its first commercial robot, Spot in June of 2020 and has since sold hundreds of robots in a variety of industries, such as power utilities, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining. Boston Dynamics plans to expand the Spot product line early next year with an enterprise version of the robot with greater levels of autonomy and remote inspection capabilities, and the release of a robotic arm.

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