Google sells robotics firm to Japan's Softbank

09/06/2017

Boston Dynamics, known for its robots such as Atlas and BigDog, has been sold by Google to Japanese telecoms giant Softbank for an undisclosed sum.

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Boston Dynamics' robots, which also include the dog-like Spot and the sprinting Cheetah, have become sensations on YouTube but have failed to become marketable products and Alphabet put the business up for sale last year.

SoftBank confirmed the deal along with the news that it is buying Schaft, a Japanese group that makes bipedal robots, bought by Google in 2013. The size of Friday's deal was not disclosed but is believed to be over $100m (£79m).

The company, which last year bought British microchip company ARM Holdings and has recently set up a $93bn technology fund in London, is known for its outlandish bets on long-term ideas.

Softbank began as a Japanese telecoms company but moved into robotics and developed the human-like Pepper in 2014.

Founder Masayoshi Son has since built the Japanese firm into a massive technology conglomerate through some big deals.

They range from buying UK chip firm ARM Holdings for £24bn ($32bn), investing $1bn in satellite startup OneWeb, to setting up a venture fund with Saudi Arabia.

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