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Hoover Makes Offer for Friendly Robotics
Oct 14, 2002
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Vacuum cleaner manufacturer Hoover has offered to acquire Israeli start-up Friendly Robotics for U.S. $2 million. The negotiations with Hoover, were first reported in early August, and have now matured into a concrete offer. Friendly Robotics develops and manufactures robotic home appliances. Its first product was a robotic lawn-mower. Market sources believe that Hoover wants to turn Friendly Robotics into its development center in Israel, while retaining its 25 employees. Friendly Robotics was on the brink of bankruptcy and has been in receivership since early August. Petitions to liquidate the company have already been filed, due to its $5 million debt to the First International Bank of Israel. The bank petitioned the District Court to appoint a temporary receiver for Friendly Robotics to work with its management.

Friendly Robotics was founded by chairman and CEO Udi Peless and senior VP R&D Shai Abramson in 1995. The company completed a financing round in late 2000 at a company value of $85 million, with the aim of holding an IPO in the first half of 2001 at a company value of $250 million. This aim was not realized. Following the cancellation of orders by its main customers and the global slowdown, Friendly Robotics faced liquidation by mid-2001. In September 2001, the company managed to raise $7 million at a company value of $22 million, after money, on the eve of its closure. (Globes [online])

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