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SoftBank ties up with Iris Ohyama to recharge robotics ambitions


By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp's robotics unit announced on Wednesday a joint venture with Japanese electronics maker Iris Ohyama, as the conglomerate looks to juice up its robotics business.

SoftBank Robotics, whose Pepper robot is a symbol of the company and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son's grand technological ambitions, is an outlier, as the group eschews operating businesses in favour of investing.

The joint venture, Iris Robotics, offered an ambitious forecast of 100 billion yen ($965 million) in sales by 2025, but provided little detail on future products at a press conference.

Household goods maker Iris Ohyama, which has a 51% stake in the venture, is becoming an increasingly potent force in Japan's electronics sector as it moves steadily up the value chain.

Last month, SoftBank announced the sale of robotics firm Boston Dynamics to Hyundai Motor Group and its chairman.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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