One of the biggest funds in the world has made a $2.8 billion investment to acquire a 40% stake in the leading micro fulfillment center, underscoring the increasing role of automation as e-commerce booms, Progressive Grocer reported.
SoftBank, the Japan-based capital investment fund, acquired a 40% stake in AutoStore, a leading micro-fulfillment business based in Norway. Valued at $7.7 billion, the investment will help fuel AutoStore’s international growth. AutoStore has a blue-chip customer base of 600 locations where it operates 20,000 robots across 35 countries.
The acquisition signals that investors realize the high cost of e-commerce fulfillment as consumers flock online to make purchases and are willing to look to automation to meet these rising demands.
“We view AutoStore as a foundational technology that enables rapid and cost-effective logistics for companies around the globe. We look forward to working with AutoStore to aggressively expand across end markets and geographies,” Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of Softbank Group, said in a statement.
According to AutoStore, its innovative cubic design enables customers to store four times the inventory in the same space, or all of their existing inventory in 25% of the space, with automated storage and retrieval systems. The company has recently partnered with H Mart, the largest asian food retailer in the U.S., and Ahold Delhaize, a Netherlands-based food retailer. However, AutoStore also maintains customers outside of food retailers, including other e-commerce retailers, industrial and healthcare partners.
See the full story at Progressive Grocer.