SoftBank grinds out Europe robotics sale - Mobile World Live

SoftBank grinds out Europe robotics sale

12 APR 2022

Germany-based software company United Robotics Group (URG) struck an agreement with SoftBank Group to acquire its European robotics division, the unit behind the widely-known humanoid robot assistant Pepper.

Announced in a statement, the companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, but the make-up of the agreement will see SoftBank take a minority stake in URG, meaning the pair will cooperate on marketing robots going forward.

URG explained its deal to buy France-based SoftBank Robotics Europe helps it become one of the leading companies in the field in the continent.

Completion is expected in the current quarter, after which SoftBank Robotics Europe will revert to its former name of Aldebaran.

Thomas Hahn, founder and CEO of URG, said the acquisition was an important step “on the way to further internationalising our company”.

“The future Aldebaran, with their strong reputation in the market, will help us to further expand our great potential in combining interaction robotics with our knowledge in collaborative industrial robotics.”

Pepper pullback
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son bought Aldebaran in 2012 as he attempted to make the Japanese company into a major robotics player.

One of the unit’s biggest successes during SoftBank’s ownership was the creation of Pepper and the education-focused Nao robots.

However, rumours of a sale of the unit heightened after Reuters reported in 2021 SoftBank had ceased production of Pepper due to low demand. As part of its pullback, the company also slashed jobs in its robotics business globally.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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