Samsung recently announced an $8 billion deal to buy Harman International Industries, one of the largest providers of the connected technologies for car, but also known for its audio systems and infotainment solutions. Marking a major push into the auto electronics market and the biggest overseas acquisition ever by a South Korean firm. This space has become of increasing interest to tech companies in recent years as cars become more connected.
Around 65 percent of Harman’s sales — which totaled $7 billion over the last year — were for car-related products. Samsung added that the Harman products, that included connected car devices and audio sys, are installed in an estimated 30 million vehicles worldwide.
Samsung lags Google and Apple on in-car entertainment and software systems (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) so this deal will give it the kind of reach that could allow it to compete more evenly with its rivals in the car.
In addition to the automotive segment, Samsung will tap into the Harman’s advances in the IoT space in rolling out the’next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for automotive market through the convergence of design, devices and data.’
Samsung is also looking to leverage Harman’s audio brands — which include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, Lexicon, AKG, Infinity, and Revel — to ‘deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.’
While automotive is clearly the big focus of this deal, Harman will bring a lot of audio know-how that could combine well with Samsung’s consumer electronics focus. Reverberations will be felt both on the consumer and the professional products sides.
Other notable acquisitions from Samsung of late include Viv, a highly-regarded virtual assistant from the creators of Apple’s Siri service, and also cloud computing company Joyent.