On Tuesday, SoftBank Group’s Paris-based robotics business SoftBank Robotics Europe, which created the humanoid Pepper robot for the Japanese corporation, said that Germany’s United Robotics Group will acquire it.
SoftBank will buy a minority share in URG, and the two firms will continue to collaborate on robot marketing, according to the announcement, which did not reveal the agreement’s financial details.
The company will revert to its previous name, Aldebaran. Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, bought the company in 2012 in a failed attempt to become a big player in the robotics market.
SB Northstar is coming to an end
According to Reuters, SoftBank is in discussions to sell the company to URG after ceasing manufacturing of Pepper and cutting employment across its robotics division internationally.
In October of last year, the agreement, which follows URG’s designation as Pepper’s European master distributor, is anticipated to conclude in Q2 of 2022.
SoftBank is dealing with several issues across its investments, including a recent move to liquidate most of its portfolio in the short-lived SB Northstar. The fund racked losses amounting to $6 to $7 billion, costing Son an estimated $1.5 billion, a figure that will rise during the winding down.
SoftBank is trying to regain its footing
SoftBank’s makeover is impossible to ignore, especially in the aftermath of COO Marcelo Claure’s resignation over a compensation disagreement. One of Claure’s most famous initiatives – a $100 million growth fund for creators of color – was transformed into an evergreen investment vehicle with new management last month.
The business said it is spinning out its Latin American investment arm into a new independent organization called Upload Ventures, which would invest $100 million per year in early-stage firms in Latin America.
Claure allegedly pushed for the Latin American branch to be split off and battled with SoftBank officials six months ago, prompting the move, just not with his participation.