SoftBank Group Corp.
plans to buy the remaining portion of AI and robotics developer Berkshire Grey Inc.
that it doesn’t already own in a roughly $375 million go-private merger deal. Under the deal, announced Friday, SoftBank — a big investor in AI, telecom and other tech-heavy industries — would acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Berkshire Grey that it doesn’t currently own for $1.40 per share in an all-cash transaction. The transaction, expected to close in the third quarter, represented a premium of around 24% to the stock’s closing price as of Friday. Shares rose 19.3% after hours. SoftBank has been an investor in Berkshire Grey since 2019, Berkshire Grey said. SoftBank, in the statement announcing the deal, called Berkshire Grey a “pioneer” in AI-backed robotic technology that can be used in retail, e-commerce and for package handling. “SoftBank is a great partner and this merger will strengthen our ability to serve customers with our disruptive AI robotics technology as they seek to become more efficient in their operations and maintain a competitive edge,” Tom Wagner, Berkshire Grey’s chief executive, said in a statement.