Samsung bets big on connected cars, will buy U.S. auto tech firm Harman for $8B
by Youkyung Lee, The Associated Press
In South Korean firm's largest deal to date, Samsung will increase its profile in the auto systems market, an area it's struggled to build traction
SEOUL—Samsung Electronics has agreed to acquire auto-systems maker Harman for $8 billion as the South Korean giant eyes the growing market for connected cars.
Samsung said Nov. 14 it will pay $112.00 per share in cash for the Stamford, Connecticut-based company, making the acquisition Samsung’s biggest ever.
Overseas acquisitions are high on Samsung’s agenda. Last month, the company bought artificial intelligence firm Viv Labs, founded by creators of Apple’s Siri. It also recently bought a cloud service company, a mobile payments firm and a connected home startup.
Harman provides connected cars and audio systems with safety and entertainment features. More than 30 million cars are equipped with its auto systems. The majority of its $7 billion in annual sales during the year that ended Sept. 30 came from auto-related technologies.
“Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung,” the company said in a statement.
Samsung is a latecomer to the market for connected cars. In December 2015, the company made its ambitions for the self-driving car sector known by announcing that it will create a business division to focus on auto systems and components for autonomous driving. Apple and Google were already working with global automakers to supply their auto systems, CarPlay and Android Auto.
The company plans to keep Harman as an independent subsidiary and retain its management team. Samsung’s automotive electronics business team will work closely with Harman’s management, it said.