Korea’s Naver buys AI-strong Xerox Research Center Europe

2017.06.27 15:42:52 | 2017.06.27 15:43:27

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South Korea’s top web portal operator Naver Corp. announced Tuesday it will acquire Xerox Research Center Europe (XRCE), a future technology research house of U.S.-based Xerox Corp.

Established in 1993, XRCE is a research unit located just outside Grenoble, France, focusing in breakthrough technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and natural language processing.

The acquisition process will be completed by the third quarter and the center will be rebranded to Naver Labs Europe. The current 80 XRCE staff will continue their research under Naver.

Naver also plans to sign a licensing agreement with Xerox to gain access to the intellectual property rights of XRCE. The financial term of the deal has not been released.

With this deal, the Korean internet giant hopes to tap into XRCE’s advanced research technology to strengthen its research arm Naver Labs in developing ambient intelligence, from AI-enhanced appliances, self-driving vehicles to robotics.

“XRCE is the research powerhouse of Xerox staffed with world-class researchers,” said Naver’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Song Chang-hyun. “The two companies share a common vision in advancing future technologies so we expect to see some powerful synergies.”

“This transaction will allow us to better optimize our R&D investment, focusing in areas more aligned to our business,” said Xerox’s CTO Steve Hoover, adding, “Research and innovation remain a critical element of Xerox’s strategy and research in such areas as artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, ethnography, inkjet and digital printing and digital manufacturing.”

Shares of Naver finished Tuesday at 869,000 won ($764.8), down 2.14 percent or 19,000 won from the previous session.

By Oh Chan-jong

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