The deal will help AutoStore in speeding up its global expansion, particularly in the Asia Pacific region


Inside the AutoStore innovation hub in Karmøy. (Credit: AutoStore)

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has agreed to acquire a 40% stake in Norwegian robotics and software company AutoStore for $2.8bn.

The deal values the Norwegian firm at $7.7bn.

The stake is being acquired by SoftBank from funds associated with Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), EQT Private Equity, and other shareholders.

THL will retain a majority stake in the robotics technology company. Both SoftBank and EQT will have their representatives on the company’s board of directors.

SoftBank Group chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said: “We view AutoStore as a foundational technology that enables rapid and cost-effective logistics for companies around the globe. We look forward to working with AutoStore to aggressively expand across end markets and geographies.”

Established in 1996, AutoStore invented a dense storage technology called Cube Storage Automation. The cubic design technology of the company is claimed to help customers to store four times the inventory in the same space.

The company is said to combine software and hardware with human capabilities for boosting the efficiency of warehouses for e-commerce, industrial, grocery, healthcare and other sectors.

Presently, AutoStore is claimed to have a blue-chip customer base with over 600 installations and 20,000 robots in 35 countries.

The company has offices, warehouses, manufacturing sites across Norway, the US, the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, Austria, South Korea and Japan.

AutoStore president and CEO Karl Johan Lier said: “We are delighted for SoftBank to join the AutoStore team as we continue on our journey to automate all commerce and deliver best-in-class automation solutions to our customers.

“Our world-class investor group brings exceptional experience from multiple geographies, and we are thrilled to have SoftBank’s leadership and support on a global scale, but particularly with our vision for growth in Asia-Pacific.”

The deal, subject to customary closing conditions, is likely to be closed this month.

Last month, the robotics technology company unveiled an innovation hub in Karmøy, Norway, which will be used for testing and replicating various types of in-store and warehouse environments.