Korean electronics giant Samsung has announced its largest acquisition yet, an $8 billion, all-cash deal to purchase U.S.-based audio company Harman. The deal, which was announced Monday morning, gives Samsung a sizable piece of the growing automotive electronics market. Harman specializes in connecting car and audio systems, claiming 30 million-plus vehicles currently equipped with its embedded infotainment technology.
Harman reported sales of $7 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, with 65 percent of that being auto-related. Founded in 1980, Harman is based in Stamford, Conn. and has a global workforce of 26,000 people, with 7,300 in the U.S. The company has over 20 brands in its portfolio, including Harman/Kardon, JBL, Infinity and AKG Acoustics.
"Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time," said Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon in a statement. "As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform ... The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade."
Shares of Harman are up over 26 percent in pre-market trading on the NYSE. Samsung is down 2.82 percent on the Korean Exchange.