Hyundai Buys Boston Dynamics In $1.1B Deal

Boston Dynamics' robots

The South Korean automaker Hyundai Motors has announced that it’s reached a deal to buy an 80% stake in the robotics company Boston Dynamics from its owner SoftBank. The acquisition is reported as a $1.1 billion deal, implying that Hyundai is paying in the ballpark of $880 million for its 80% stake, while the remaining 20% will be held by SoftBank and its affiliates.

With an 80% stake, Hyundai has control of Boston Dynamics, which has drawn fame for its autonomous legged robots; the two-legged humanoid-like Atlas and the four-legged dog-like Spot which are both pictured above.

In a press statement, Hyundai notes that it’ll make use of Boston Dynamics to improve its in-house manufacturing capabilities while providing more funding for the company to grow and sell its products to other customers. Hyundai itself says it’s looking to expand into the humanoid robot market over time, an area where Boston Dynamics’ expertise proves very useful.

Basically, Hyundai is making a big bet that the robotics market will grow over time and lead to bigger business for Boston Dynamics and also harnessing its expertise to improve its own manufacturing capabilities, a potential two-way win. With 80% of the company under its control and SoftBank holding the remaining 20%, Hyundai says it’ll continue to work with SoftBank to ensure Boston Dynamics’ growth.

The $1.1 billion deal for Boston Dynamics marks one of the biggest-ever acquisitions in the robotics space. It proves particularly lucrative for SoftBank, which acquired Boston Dynamics in 2017 for an undisclosed sum that’s likely much lesser than the amount Hyundai has agreed to pay for it.

Before it was sold to SoftBank, Boston Dynamics was owned by the tech giant Google. The company notably began as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1992 by robotics expert Marc Raibert, who has led the company for 28 years running.

Photo credit: Boston Dynamics

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