Japan’s Murata buys Italian RFID system developer

Electronics maker eyes synergy with hardware as it pursues new growth engines

OSAKA — Murata Manufacturing has acquired an Italian startup with strength in systems for tags using radio-frequency identification technology, aiming to become a one-stop shop for inventory management.

The Japanese electronics producer on Thursday completed the purchase of Id-Solutions, a software developer spun off from the University of Parma. The deal was likely valued at more than 2 billion yen ($17.9 million).

RFID tags can be attached to price tags and scanned with a specialized reader to instantly provide such information as the amount of a product left in stock. Major Japanese clothing retailers are adopting the technology for store inventory management to improve efficiency.

Though Murata already sells RFID hardware, being able to bundle it with the necessary software systems would let the company offer customers ways to lower costs. Murata aims to boost annual RFID-related sales from billions of yen now to 10 billion yen by 2020.

The company holds much of the global market for its mainstay electronic components, such as ceramic capacitors, but its business is tilted heavily toward smartphone parts. Murata has been investing aggressively in fledgling businesses, including buying plastics maker Primatec in 2016 and U.S. semiconductor developer Arctic Sand Technologies this year.

The aim is to snag companies with new technologies closely tied to its own components to build up new growth drivers in such fields as the “internet of things.”

(Nikkei)

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