Samsung is planning on pursuing more major mergers and acquisitions akin to the company's purchase of Harman International Industries, according to Sohn Young-kwon, President of the tech giant's Strategy & Innovation Center (SSIC). In a recent interview, Mr. Sohn stated that Samsung's main motivation for seeking such deals is its ambition to diversify and become even less reliant on individual industry sectors in the long term. Samsung is presently targeting enterprise software, digital health, and automotive technologies in regards to its potential acquisitions, according to Mr. Sohn. The chaebol already has a presence in all of those industries but now seems prepared to place a larger bet on them, though no concrete time frames for any investments have yet been provided by the company. The same applies to automation, software security, and the Internet of Things segments, albeit it remains to be seen whether Samsung is looking for a perfectly balanced investment approach or if it ends up committing to one sector more than the others.
With the purchase of Harman being by far the largest foreign acquisition ever made by Samsung, Mr. Sohn's recent statements signal that the chaebol may soon break its $8 billion purchase record. The development also marks the first occasion on which a senior Samsung official suggested that major M&As may already be in the works following the imprisonment of Jay Y. Lee, Samsung Group Vice Chairman and the de facto leader of the Seoul-based original equipment manufacturer. Mr. Lee is currently in the process of appealing a five-year prison sentence he received on the charges of bribing Korean officials, with many industry watchers and even Samsung's own executives previously indicating that his absence is likely to effectively put a stop to any large M&As, a notion that Mr. Sohn indirectly dismissed earlier this month.
Samsung's investments will primarily be targeting markets that the firm presently isn't dominating, meaning no M&A deals in smartphones and semiconductors are to be expected in the near future. The company's latest remarks on the matter indicate that it's already pleased with its Harman acquisition despite the fact that the transaction has yet to start paying off in terms of pure profit.