Herbert Smith Freehills Advises Softbank Corp on Stake Increase in Aldebaran Robotics

Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Japanese telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Corp. on its acquisition of a further share of interest in Aldebaran Robotics, a French robotics company which designs, manufactures and sells autonomous humanoid robots.

SoftBank acquired all the shares held in Aldebaran by Mr. Bruno Maisonnier, former CEO of the company who stepped down on 4 March 2015. SoftBank became a majority shareholder of Aldebaran in 2011 when it acquired an 80% share interest in the robotics company. The additional shares acquired by SoftBank raise its stake in Aldebaran to 95%.

The firm advised on the buyout structure and all other aspects of the transaction, including corporate, employment, intellectual property rights and tax.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team on the deal was led out of the Paris and Tokyo offices. Paris Partner Frédéric Bouvet and Tokyo Head of Corporate practice Graeme Preston, assisted by Of Counsel Christopher Theris in Paris, and Associate Edward du Boulay who is on secondment at Softbank Corp., in Tokyo were leading the transaction and advising on corporate aspects. Partner Emma Rohsler was also advising on employment aspects and Of Counsel Céline Bey on Intellectual property.

Herbert Smith Freehills has recently advised Softbank on a number of its business deals including on its US$100 million investment in Tokopedia, Indonesia’s largest online marketplace and its US$250 million investment in GrabTaxi Holdings.

Frédéric commented:
“We have been advising Softbank on its investment in Aldebaran since it became a majority shareholder in late 2011 and were delighted to continue supporting Softbank in this further step of its investment. This transaction also underlines our strong expertise in advising large Japanese corporate clients in connection with their investments in France, in close coordination with our Tokyo office team. ”

Graeme commented:
“We are delighted to have assisted SoftBank on yet another instruction. The growth of the robotics industry will continue to present new opportunities and challenges. Through our cross-border network we are able to bridge investments between Asia and Europe, offering our clients the legal services where and when needed to enhance their commercial interests.”

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