Ocado Group has announced the proposed acquisition of materials handling robotics start-up Myrmex for €10.2m (£8.7m) to accelerate the development of intelligent asset handling systems for the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP).
The two companies have agreed the terms of the transaction and expect to complete the acquisition by 06 June 2022.
Ocado previously acquired a minority stake in Myrmex in October 2020 and appointed the Athens-based company to design and develop a proprietary solution that automates the loading of totes containing customer orders onto frames ready for dispatch.
The ‘Automated Frameload’ solution (AFL) was unveiled at Ocado Re:Imagined in January 2022 as one of seven new innovations, and will go live in Ocado Group Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) later this year.
According to Ocado, the acquisition of Myrmex will enable faster rollout of AFL across its global CFC footprint, as well as open up new opportunities for the development of bespoke automation solutions for the OSP.
James Gralton, chief engineering officer at Ocado Technology, said: “This acquisition is another important step on our automation journey and provides an opportunity to further grow and expand our engineering presence in Southern Europe as we continue to invest in developing Myrmex’s technologies for the Ocado Smart Platform.”
Myrmex has developed products and solutions applicable to a variety of processes in Ocado’s CFCs, but its technology also has potential applications for in-store locations, specifically for automating the grocery order pickup process.
A team of over 30 people from Myrmex with deep domain expertise in automation hardware and software will join Ocado Technology’s 2,500 strong team of technologists.
George Katiniotis, CEO at Myrmex, said: “Over the last 20 months, we’ve been impressed with Ocado Group’s disruptive products, pioneering technology, visionary leadership and talented people.
“I am proud to see our intellectual property and brilliant engineering team recognised by the global leader in online grocery and am excited about the journey ahead of us.”