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Consumer Electronics

Samsung to buy US' SmartThings for controlling household appliances

South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has said it will buy US start-up SmartThings. It said that with the move, the company could expand beyond the saturated mobile phone market.

Samsung confirmed Friday it had reached a deal to acquire SmartThings, a US home automation start-up, which would provide the South Koreans with the opportunity to become a stronger player in technology that can monitor and control home appliances via mobile phones.

"With Samsung's resources and support, SmartThings will be able to expand its platform and become available for even more partners and devices," the South Korean tech giant said in a statement, adding that the US start-up would continue to operate independently.

It also noted that SmartThings would become part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center.

The two sides did not comment on the value of the deal, but the Internet blog TechCrunch reported in July that a sum above $200 million (149.6 million euros) was mentioned in negotiations.

Strategic move

SmartThings was founded in 2012 and has since built an open platform supporting the remote control of about 1,000 different devices. Its expertise will come in handy for Samsung which among other things produces washing machines, refrigerators and other household appliances.

Samsung Q4 operating profit drops

The South Koreans have ramped up efforts to promote Internet-enabled devices in a move towards the market of the Internet of Things in which appliances and electronic devices are connected online and can, for instance, be controlled via mobile apps.

Samsung is placing great hope on this new market while facing strong headwinds in the saturated smartphone segment. The company last month reported a 20-percent drop in its bottom-line profit for the second quarter.

hg/cjc (AFP, Reuters)

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