Hyundai Motor Group has agreed to purchase an 80% stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank Group Corporation for about $736 million to $828 million, according to Reuters.  The company seeks to leverage on robot technology to expand automation at its unionized car factories and design autonomous vehicles such as self-driving cars, drones, and delivery robots.

  • The deal comes after Hyundai’s newly-promoted chairman Euisun Chung pledged to reduce reliance on traditional car manufacturing. 
  • Chung hinted that robotics would account for 20% of the company’s future business, with car-making taking up 50%, followed by urban air mobility at 30%
  • In the acquisition, Chung will own a 20% stake in Boston Dynamics, while Hyundai Motors and its affiliates will hold a combined 60% stake.
  • Analysts suggest that Hyundai now needs to prove that Boston Dynamics can be commercially successful and compete with cheaper Chinese rivals.
  • The deal is the latest pullback by SoftBank from operating businesses as CEO Masayoshi Son focuses on investing.
  • The Hyundai Motor Group is expected to announce the acquisition later on Friday, after getting approval from boards at each of its three units.

Hyundai’s stock is currently declining. 005380: KRX is down 0.78%