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Samsung Buys Startup SmartThings to Move Into Smart Homes

Samsung Electronics Co., which is competing with Google Inc. and Apple Inc. to gain a foothold in home automation, is acquiring SmartThings, a startup that makes makes mobile applications to remotely control devices in houses.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, with technology blog Recode reporting the price as $200 million. SmartThings said in a blog post that it would operate as an independent business within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center and would relocate to a new headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

“Joining forces with Samsung will enable us to support all of the leading smartphone vendors, devices, and applications; expand our base of developers and enhance the tools and programs that they rely on,” SmartThings wrote in the post.

The deal underscores how larger technology companies are interested in the so-called Internet of Things, which includes Web-enabled home appliances and centrally linked industrial equipment. Google earlier this year purchased smart thermostat maker Nest Labs Inc. for $3.2 billion. Apple in June showed HomeKit, a set of tools for developers to make iPhones work with so-called smart homes by controlling things like a light bulb or door lock with a smartphone.

“Connected devices have long been strategically important to Samsung,” said David Eun, head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center, in a statement.

SmartThings, founded in 2012, raised funding through crowdfunding site Kickstarter and later got financing from venture capital firms including Greylock Partners, the company said on its site. The company is run by Chief Executive Officer Alex Hawkinson.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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