Samsung Electronics Co. is spending $8 billion to buy its way into a burgeoning market for automotive technology alongside Apple Inc. and Google as the smartphone business wanes.
The company is making its largest-ever overseas acquisition with an offer for Harman International Industries Inc., angling to become the go-to supplier of everything from in-car entertainment to connected-auto services. It comes days after Samsung Group heir-apparent Jay Y. Lee formally ascended to the board of the electronics firm, a move expected to shore up his influence over the family-run conglomerate’s prized asset.
The Harman acquisition will lift Samsung into the top ranks of auto technology suppliers and give it existing relationships with BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. While Harman became a legendary name in high-end audio equipment, it’s pushed deeper into automotive supplies and now gets 65 percent of sales from the sector. Samsung’s $112-a-share offer stood 28 percent above Harman’s closing price of $87.65 in New York on Friday.