SoftBank aquires Boston Dynamics, Schaft from Google's Alphabet

June 9, 2017 // 11:22 a.m.

Tags: #acquires #acquisition #arm #boston-dynamics #financial #masayoshi-son #robotics #schaft #sofbank

Japanese technology giant SoftBank is continuing its acquisition spree, following up on its purchase of Cambridge-based ARM with a deal to pick up two robotics concerns from advertising giant and Google parent company Alphabet.

Following its acquisition of ARM in July 2016 - and a subsequent plan to sell off up to a quarter of the company to a Saudi Arabian technology concern - Japanese technology company SoftBank has whipped out its chequebook once more to pick up two robotics companies previously acquired by Google: Boston Dynamics and Schaft.

Google acquired Boston Dynamics, best known for its family of dog-styled autonomous robots built primarily with military applications in mind, back in 2013, and Japanese robotics concern Schaft later that same year. At the time, the company saw robotics as a serious future direction - but in the years since it has opted to concentrate in other areas, such as its core advertising competency and the burgeoning field of virtual reality. As a result, it has been looking to offload both companies - and SoftBank is only too happy to take both.

'Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,' claimed Masayoshi Son, chair and chief executive of SoftBank, in a statement confirming the acquisitions. 'Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and Marc [Raibert, chief executive and founder] and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots. I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.'

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
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