June 28, 2016      

Technology, IP and expertise of KUKA staff will catapult China’s robotics programs ahead by decades.

This changes everything

China (via Midea) joins the big-four club of robotics manufacturers by buying one of the four: KUKA

It’s now just a shareholder vote away from reality as Bloomberg reports that KUKA’s board will recommend acceptance of Midea’s buyout offer of one of the world’s premier robotics manufacturers.

News began trickling out on Monday (27 June) after the parties huddled on Saturday for what proved to be the last serious chat on special details for KUKA and its management before the parties agreed to go forward with Midea’s purchase offer of $4.99 billion (4.5 billion euros).

A source told Reuters that the Saturday meetup proved to be the breakthrough moment in negotiations.

Germany’s KUKA signed an agreement with Chinese appliance manufacturer Midea agreeing to the buyout but also committing the Chinese company to “extensive assurances until the end of 2023 in areas including sites and employment… the executive board’s independence, agreements on protecting business partners’ data and an assurance not to pursue a domination agreement or de-listing.

“We conducted intensive negotiations with Midea and ensured that the announced assurances have now been made legally binding,” Kuka Chief Executive Officer Till Reuter said in the statement, noting that the agreed term of 7.5 years is longer than usual. “It protects the interests of our company, our business partners, our employees and our shareholders until well into the next decade.”

Factum est plurimum!

Done deal!

Now let’s see how the tech balance in East Asian robotics reacts. And oh, Midea gets Swisslog as well. How convenient.

This is going to get very interesting.