TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank Corp on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy a majority stake in Irish software developer Cubic Telecom for around 473 million euros ($513 million), to target surging demand for cars connected to the internet.
SoftBank Corp, a unit of technology investor SoftBank Group , will acquire 51% of Cubic Telecom, which provides a platform for automakers to update software functions in cars globally and in real time. Cubic Telecom already has agreements with more than 90 mobile networks and connects more than 17 million cars in 190 countries.
The deal, which values the Irish company at more than 900 million euros, will allow SoftBank Corp to make a "full-fledged entry" into the market for connected cars and so-called software-defined vehicles - vehicles whose features and functions are primarily carried out through software.
Cubic Telecom was established in 2009 and its platform allows vehicles to connect to telecoms networks in different countries. Automakers are then able to tailor software to the requirements of a country while complying with different regulations, the companies said.
Existing investors include CARIAD, the software unit of Volkswagen, and chipmaker Qualcomm.
In-vehicle displays and entertainment systems are becoming more complex as automakers add features such as gaming, artificial intelligence for voice-activated features, driver monitoring systems and displays related to automated driving.
The deal marks SoftBank Corp's largest overseas investment since its public listing in 2018, although it is far more modest than some of those made by parent SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund investment vehicle.
The companies said they would look to "leverage opportunities" across the broader SoftBank group.
Cubic Telecom will become a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank Corp, and the deal is set to close in the first half of 2024.
($1 = 0.9229 euros) (Reporting by Anton Bridge; Editing by David Dolan and Christopher Cushing)