Samsung Electronics has announced that it will acquire Harman International Industries in a deal worth US$8 billion.

Set to be the largest acquisition by a South Korean firm, it is hoped that Harman will provide Samsung with a significant presence in the large and growing market for connected technologies, particularly in automotive electronics.

Under the terms of the agreement, Harman will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and will continue to be led by current chairman, president and CEO Dinesh Paliwal.

Samsung’s pursuit of a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics means that it will retail Harman’s current workforce, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional brands.

Harman – which is perhaps best known for its Harman Kardon brand of electronics – currently enjoys a market share of over 30 million vehicles possessing its technologies, from embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security.

Samsung hopes to combine Harman’s experience with in-vehicle technologies, its long-standing relationships with multiple auto manufacturers and its own expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays and global distribution channels.

Along with an increased automotive presence, Samsung hopes to leverage Harman’s catalogue of brands in the consumer audio and professional audio-visual fields, and its more than 8000 software designers and engineers.

Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics, said in a statement: “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognised portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform.”

Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics, added: “The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade.”

Paliwal said the deal will benefit both companies. “Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers aroiund the world,” he said.

“Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.”