Samsung to Acquire Car Tech Company Harman
Samsung Electronics released a statement on Monday saying it would acquire Harman International Industries for $8 billion marking a huge push into the market of auto electronics and the largest acquisition overseas ever by a company in South Korea.
The consumer electronics giant had previously shied away from large acquisitions, but this deal underscores a shift in strategy as the business attempts to break into an automotive industry in which it has little to no track record.
One analyst said that under new vice chairman of Samsung Jay Lee the company has changed and is open to new and different ways in which to grow.
Harman, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is a maker of audio and connected car systems, and become part of the efforts by Samsung to find new industries for growth as its smartphone business, a mainstay, has been hit hard by the problems from its flagship Galaxy Note 7.
Automakers already have or are in the development stage of technologies that enhance safety as well as provide better connectivity for smartphones and entertainment systems, which has created a new opening for tech businesses to enter a market for software, components and services.
Samsung said it would acquire Harman for a cash price of $112 per share, which represents a premium of 28% over the company’s Friday closing price in the U.S.
Harman’s products provide connected security and safety services and infotainment telematics, that are in over 30 million vehicles made by auto manufacturers such as Toyota, BMW, and Volkswagen.
Harman, which makes JBL audio systems, earns over 66% of its revenue in the automotive segment, and its order backlog in automotive as of June 30 was $24 billion, over three times its annual sales that were $6.9 billion in its 2016 fiscal year.
Samsung created a team for an automotive electronics business in 2015 to identify possible growth opportunities within that sector. In 2016, it invested more than $450 million in BYD Co an automaker and maker of rechargeable batteries based in China.
In a separate issue, Samsung held talks with competitor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over a possible sale or a partnership for FCA’s Magneti Marelli, a maker of auto parts, said sources. What the status is currently of those discussions is still unclear.
The acquisition of Harman will need approvals by regulators and should close during the middle of next year.
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