Shopping Spree

China's Midea Bids for Robotics Firm

Kuka robots dpa
Kuka robots are working hard to replace factory workers all over the world.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Robotics is a key part of China’s plan to automate its factories in order to catch up with advanced Western economies.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The takeover bid would value Kuka at €4.57 billion, or $5.1 billion.
    • Midea already holds a 13.5-percent state in Kuka, which it plans to expand to more than 30 percent.
    • Regulatory and shareholder approval of the offer are still pending.
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    Audio

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Chinese company Midea made an unsolicited bid Wednesday to gain a controlling stake in Kuka, a German maker of industrial robots.

Midea, a producer of air conditioning and household appliances, offered €115 per share, a 36-percent premium on Tuesday’s closing price. The deal would value Kuka at €4.57 billion, or $5.1 billion.

News of the bid drove Kuka’s share price up more than 30 percent Wednesday morning. It was still trading up more than 20 percent to €104.65 at 5 p.m. local time in Frankfurt.

“We want to help Kuka grow in China,” Andy Gu, Midea’s vice president, told Handelsblatt in an interview. “That is our strategic goal. Kuka has a long history and enjoys high regard in the industry,” he added.

Mr. Gu stressed that the Chinese firm has the cash to close the deal. “We have cash reserves of more than $10 billion,” he said. “The deal with Kuka would not cause us any difficulties.”

Midea made the official offer for Kuka’s shares through its subsidiary Mecca International, saying it hopes to raise its own stake in the German firm to more than 30 percent.

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