Voith GmbH, among the biggest family-owned businesses in Europe, acquired 25% of robot maker Kuka AG by buying the shares held by Grenzebach GmbH.
The transaction was valued at €555 million ($683 million), based on Bloomberg closing share prices.
KUKA has been active financially this last year:
- KUKA acquired the engineering services, toolmaking and integration divisions of US-based Utica Enterprises for an estimated $25 million in May, 2013. 300 people were involved in the acquisition.
- KUKA acquired 51% of the shares of Reis Robotics, a 57-year old family-owned Germany-based robotics provider and systems integrator with sales of $178 million, in December, 2013. 1,300 employes worked for Reis.
- KUKA acquired Alema Automation SAS, a French automation solutions provider to the aviation industry, in March, 2014, for an undisclosed amount.
- KUKA purchased Swisslog, a healthcare and materials handling robot company, for $378 million in October, 2014. Grenzebach GmbH was a 30% shareholder of Swisslog at the time of the acquisition.
Till Reuter, CEO of KUKA, said: “This is good news for our employees, as this new anchor shareholder will provide us with a stable basis for further growth.”
“Kuka is focused on mechanics, electronics, sensor systems and software,” Voith Chief Executive Officer Hubert Lienhard said. “This makes it an ideal, forward-looking investment for us.
Will there be a consolidation of KUKA, Grenzebach and Swisslog mobility R&D and products? And will there be a mobile manipulator robot in the near-term future using KUKA’s new lightweight IBR iiwa arm and Swisslog’s and Grenzebach’s consolidated mobile platform? Interesting times….