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South Korean firm agrees to buy Xerox research facility

Korea’s leading internet company has agreed to acquire Xerox Corp.’s Research Centre Europe in Grenoble, France, for an undisclosed sum. The agreement is expected to close in the third quarter.

Based in Seongnam, South Korea, Naver Corp. operates the nation’s top search portal, Naver, and other innovative services in the global market, including a mobile messenger and video messenger.

The company posted annual revenues of roughly $3.51 billion in 2016.

Founded in 1993, the Xerox research facility has focused its research in artificial intelligence, 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, chief technology officer 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.”

Naver expects to retain the more than 80 researchers and administrative staff that work at the center. Xerox will maintain ownership of intellectual property and arrange licensing agreements with Naver.

“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,” Xerox Chief Technology Officer Steve Hoover said. “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.”

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].

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