Samsung to buy car tech company Harman for $8 billion

Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:32pm EST
 
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By Hyunjoo Jin and Miyoung Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics has agreed to buy Harman International Industries in an $8 billion deal, marking a major push into the auto electronics market and the biggest overseas acquisition ever by a South Korean company.

The transaction highlights Samsung's efforts to break into the high-barrier automotive industry where it has little track record and also marks a strategic shift for the electronics company, which has previously shunned big acquisitions.

"An M&A deal this big is a first for us. But it shows that under Jay Y. Lee, the company is changing and open to new ways to grow," a source familiar with the deal told Reuters, referring to Samsung Electronics' vice chairman.

The purchase of the Stamford, Connecticut-based maker of connected car and audio systems is part of Samsung's search for new growth areas as its smartphone business - scarred by the withdrawal of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 - slows.

The greater use of electronics and software in vehicles, and the ability of cars to connect to smartphones and other devices, is offering technology companies with new business opportunities.

"We have been studying the automotive market for some time. We conclude that organic growth will not get us where we want to go fast enough," Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics, said on a conference call.

"Samsung will not get into the business of manufacturing cars," he said.

Samsung, a maker of chips, displays, smartphones and TVs, agreed to acquire Harman for $112.00 per share in cash, a 28 percent premium to the U.S. company's closing price on Friday.   Continued...

 
The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2016.    REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo