South Korean Internet Company NAVER to Acquire Xerox Research Centre Europe
NAVER Corporation and Xerox today announced an agreement for NAVER to acquire the Xerox Research Centre Europe in Grenoble, France. The French Works Council’s consultation on this project has now been completed and the agreement is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to fulfillment of certain customary conditions. Xerox says its research into artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, ethnography, inkjet and digital printing, and digital manufacturing, will continue at its Silicon Valley-based Palo Alto Research Center in California, as well as its research center in Canada.
Based in Seongnam, South Korea, NAVER is said to be South Korea’s leading Internet company, operating the nation’s top search portal “NAVER,” and other services in the global market, such as the mobile messenger LINE, video messenger SNOW and community app BAND.
Founded in 1993, the Xerox Research Centre Europe is located just outside Grenoble, often dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe. The centre has focused its research in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and ethnography.
“The research expertise at the European centre is perfectly aligned with NAVER’s. We expect immediate, powerful synergies,” said Chang-hyeon Song, CTO of NAVER, and CEO of NAVER Labs. “XRCE’s world class R&D achievements in AI technology, including computer vision and machine learning, will significantly strengthen NAVER Labs’ research in ‘ambient intelligence’ including autonomous vehicles, AI/deep learning, intelligent 3D mapping, robotics and natural language processing.”
Withits foothold in Europe, NAVER expects to accelerate its development of ambient intelligence technologies around the globe and in particular in AI.
Xerox Chief Technology Officer Steve Hoover commented: “Xerox is a company built on innovating the way the world works and we maintain a commitment to innovation in a wide variety of technical areas including both the future of print and the future of work. The majority of research taking place at XRCE was supporting Xerox’s business process outsourcing unit, now an independent company and no longer aligns with Xerox strategy. This transaction will allow us to better optimize our R&D investment, focusing in areas more aligned to our business.
“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, will continue at our famed Silicon Valley based Palo Alto Research Center (PARC, A Xerox Company) and at the Xerox Research Center of Canada, as well as engineering for product development in locations throughout the globe,” added Hoover.
Once the sale becomes final, all 80 plus researchers and administrative staff are expected to become part of NAVER. Xerox will maintain ownership of intellectual property and arrange licensing agreements with NAVER.
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