April 5, 2021

AutoStoreCube400x275Norway’s AutoStore, which develops global robotics and software for material handling, has announced that SoftBank will acquire 40% of AutoStore from funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and EQT Private Equity, among other shareholders. THL will continue to be AutoStore’s majority shareholder and THL, SoftBank and EQT will each have representatives on the AutoStore Board of Directors.

The $2.8 billion transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of this month (April 2021), will value AutoStore at a $7.7 billion enterprise value, the company said. It will also accelerate AutoStore’s global expansion, with particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region, and complement its leading automation investor base.

The company said it currently has a customer base with more than 600 installations and 20,000 robots across 35 countries. Its automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), coupled with its proprietary software, give customers high throughput, enhanced configurability, and high flexibility to serve the increasing demands of supply chains. 

The cubic design of the AutoStore system lets customers either store four times the inventory in the same space or all of their existing inventory in 25% of their space. The solutions help companies “redefine space”, enabling them to serve markets as diverse as e-commerce, grocery, industrial, and healthcare in any warehouse, retail location or another facility, the company said. Last week, the company announced working on a new micro-fulfillment center with Asian grocery chain H Mart.

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

Founded in 1996, AutoStore is a robotics technology company that invented and continues to advance its Cube Storage Automation, which combines software and hardware with human capabilities to develop the future of efficient warehouses. Headquartered in Nedre Vats, Norway, the company has offices, warehouses, and manufacturing sites in Norway, the U.S., the U.K., Poland, Germany, France, Korea, Japan, Spain, Italy, and Austria.