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AI firm acquisition

LG takes over controlling stake in US TV data analysis firm Alphonso

Jan 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)


South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. has acquired a controlling stake in US-based TV data analysis startup Alphonso Inc. to strengthen its software and service capabilities in its smart TV lineup.

With an investment of about $80 million, the Korean electronics giant will become Alphonso’s largest investor with a controlling stake of more than 50%, the companies said in a statement on Jan. 7.

LG plans to utilize Alphonso's software and services, including data analytics, media planning and activation, and video artifical intelligence (AI) capabilities, in its broad range of home entertainment products.

Alphonso will continue to operate as an independent business under its current brand and leadership based in Silicon Valley.

“Our investment in Alphonso is a key component of our digital transformation strategy focusing on AI, big data and the cloud to fundamentally change how consumers interact with their devices,” said Park Hyoung-sei, president of LG’s home entertainment division.

Alphonso is a TV data and measurement company, providing real-time TV ad campaign measurement based on AI technology. Established in 2012, the startup has TV viewing data of 15 million households in North America.

Besides LG, Alphonso has worked with TV makers and technology firms such as Sharp Corp., Toshiba Corp. and China’s Hisense Group.

FROM TV MAKER TO CONTENT PROVIDER

LG Electronics CEO Kwon Bong-seok
With the acquisition, LG Electronics hopes to transform from a TV manufacturer into a content provider.

LG is operating its own streaming service, LG Channels, through which the company provides its smart TV buyers with thousands of films and other streaming content for free.

Chief Executive Kwon Bong-seok, who took the helm of the Korean home appliances giant in March 2020, has actively been pursuing acquisitions to grow the company as a digital solutions provider.

The latest deal follows LG’s announcement on Dec. 23 that it and US auto parts maker Magna International Inc. will form a $1 billion joint venture to build electric car components.

Shares of LG Electronics jumped 9.1% to close Thursday at 150,000 won on its Alphonso deal.

Write to Hyung-Suk Song at click@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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