Why Samsung is bullish about its Harman acquisition




Samsung Electronics President Young Sohn, left, with Harman International CEO Dinesh Paliwal in a 2017 photo. Samsung’s $8 billion purchase of Harman this year deepened the Korean giant’s stake in automotive overnight.

LISBON — Samsung Electronics expects strong growth at its audio and auto electronics unit Harman, which has put the company “firmly in the picture of the automotive industry” as it eyes the autonomous car market, its chief strategy officer said.

Samsung, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, completed the Harman acquisition last year for $8 billion.

“Now it’s almost 20 months, still not two years (since the purchase), but I would say the honeymoon is over. Now we are in a business,” Young Sohn, Samsung’s Silicon Valley-based president and chief strategy officer, told Reuters on Tuesday during the Web Summit conference in Lisbon.

Harman, known for its audio speakers, has a large automotive business encompassing navigation services, on-board entertainment systems and vehicle networks.

“The company (Harman) made its numbers, in terms of revenue growth and profit. And we continue to expect double-digit growth, which I think is really good. It firmly puts Samsung in the picture of the automotive industry,” he said.

He added “we are always interested in partnerships, investment, acquisitions.”

As autonomous car technology develops, Sohn said Samsung was working with automobile companies on development of 5G networks, needed for autonomous driving.

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