The Financial Times (link requires free registration) is reporting that a majority stake in Aldebaran Robotics, the French maker of the popular NAO humanoid robot, has been sold to the Japanese telecom firm, Softbank for about $100m.
According to the Times article, Softbank purchased over an ?80 per cent stake in the business, and will invest another $40m to $50m to accelerate development. Softbank bought out existing shareholders in the company, including Intel Capital, CDC Innovation, iSource and Crédit Agricole Private Equity.? Last summer Intel had invested some $13m in the company, the article said.
Commenting on the sale, the IEEE Spectrum called the deal ?huge news for Aldebaran?, but an even bigger deal for the robotics field, which has long been trying to prove to investors that there’s money to be made in robots? [C]onsumer and service robotics remains relatively small markets,” despite some VC activity.