South Korean NAVER to acquire Xerox Research Centre Europe

NAVER Corporation and Xerox Corporation have 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 fulfilment of certain customary conditions.
Based in Seongnam, South Korea, NAVER is Korea’s leading Internet company, operating the nation’s top search portal “NAVER,” and other innovative 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.”
With such a strong foothold in Europe, NAVER expects to considerably accelerate its development of ambient intelligence technologies around the globe and in particular in AI.
“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,” says Steve Hoover, Xerox’s Chief Technology Officer. “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.