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SoftBank’s Latest Investment Is In Warehouse Robotics Firm AutoStore For $2.8B

SoftBank’s Latest Investment Is In Warehouse Robotics Firm AutoStore For $2.8B
The Japanese investment firm SoftBank is set to acquire a 40 per cent stake in the robotics company AutoStore System in a deal that is worth $2.8 billion, the Japanese company said. AutoStore System is engaged in the specialised area of development of robotics for warehouses.
A range of robots that are useful in warehouses are developed by the company which includes its "R5" robot which is a member of its Red Line series and which is used for moving heavy loads such as bins full of goods all around a warehouse remotely. Additionally, the software developed by the company such as AutoStore's "The Router" is able to optimize the general movement of the robotics systems all around a warehouse.
Making the announcement for the investment and  the stake acquisition, SoftBank claimed that AutoStore can "redefine space," for "a range of markets as diverse as e-commerce, grocery, industrial, and healthcare in any warehouse, retail location or other facility."
Autostore AS, a Norwegian firm founded in 1996, is the parent company of AutoStore System.
The stake in the robotics company is being bought by SoftBank from the robotics firm’s existing stakeholders – the private equity funds Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and EQT Private Equity.
Talking about the technology of AutoStore System, SoftBank in a statement about the deal to the media that the robotics firm’s innovative Cubic design gives the opportunity to the company’s customers to either use a warehousing space for storing more than four times the inventory that they would have otherwise been able to store or place the previous amount of inventory in just a one fourth of the space the inventory used to previously occupy in a warehouse. The Japanese investor form added that there are about 600 installations around the world of AutoStore Systems while about 20,000 robots that have been developed by the company are currently operating in warehouses in more than 35 countries of the world.
The view of SoftBank of AutoStore Systems’ expertise in robotics is that it has developed a foundational technology that helps companies around the world to employ fast and cost effective logistics for their operations, said SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son about the new acquisition by the company which is primarily focused its investments in tech startups throughout the world.
“We look forward to working with AutoStore to aggressively expand across end markets and geographies," said Son added.
With the new investment in the robotics firm, SoftBank also noted that it will now push AutoStore System to expand its operations in the Asia Pacific region.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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