SoftBank to take 40% stake in AutoStore for $2.8 billion

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo

(Reuters) -SoftBank Group Corp has agreed to buy a 40% stake in AutoStore for $2.8 billion, the Norway-based robotics firm said on Monday, from funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee (THL) Partners and other investors.

The deal values AutoStore at $7.7 billion and THL will continue to be its majority shareholder.

THL, SoftBank and EQT Private Equity will each have representatives on AutoStore's board, the companies said.

Founded in 1996, AutoStore has 20,000 robots deployed across 35 countries to automate warehouse operations. The company also has a design method that allows customers to store four times the inventory in the same space in a warehouse.

SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said the conglomerate would work with AutoStore to expand to more end markets and geographies.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)