Japanese telecom operator SoftBank has signed a $ 2.8 billion deal giving it a 40% stake in Norwegian company Autostore. He bought them from the American investment group Thomas H Lee Partners and from the Swedish company EQT. On the occasion of this acquisition, the value of AutoStore was revalued to 7.7 billion dollars.
The takeover follows a series of investments in e-commerce and robotics from the Japanese group, which is behind the Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology investment fund. SoftBank had participated in a fundraising of $ 263 million in the company Berkshire Gray in January 2020.
Robotic solutions in warehouses
SoftBank was convinced by the automation technology for large logistics centers developed by AutoStore. Warehouse automation which appears more and more necessary following the increase in online orders during the full health crisis.
Founded in 1996, the Norwegian company Autostore has now deployed 20,000 of its cubic robots in 35 countries. Its clients include companies such as Puma, Best Buy and Siemens. Its robots are able to move alone on rails along the shelves in order to recover the stored goods. In addition to its robots, the company also sells a storage method to “store four times as many goods in the same space, or all of their existing inventory in 25% of the space,” says the Japanese fund.
“We believe that AutoStore has foundational technology that will provide fast and cost-effective logistics to businesses around the world,” said Masayoshi Son, CEO of the Japanese firm.