Embattled Samsung, South Korea’s largest consumer electronics company, has reportedly paid $215 million for Viv Labs, the virtual assistant startup it acquired in October.
According to a report in Business Insider, citing a filing, Samsung said that when it inked the deal it was valued at 238.93 million won on October 7, and the Korean won was equal to $0.0009 — which means Samsung paid roughly $215 million.
Viv Labs, which developed Siri for Apple, is now a unit of Samsung Research America. Since Samsung acquired it, the company has lost around $3.08 million, noted the report. Although Samsung has folded Viv into its business, when the Galaxy 8 comes out later this month, it’s not expected to have Viv but rather Bixby, another virtual assistant. The report also stated that Apple allegedly spent greater than $200 million to acquire Siri seven years ago.
The upcoming release of the Galaxy 8 comes at a perilous time for Samsung. Not only is the company reeling from a recall and an end to the Galaxy Note 7 after its battery was prone to catch fire, more recently it has been embroiled in a bribery scandal that has resulted in Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee being arrested and thrown in jail. Lee and some of his fellow executives are alleged to have paid some 30 billion won ($25.46 million) to businesses and foundations backed by South Korea’s former president’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for the National Pension Service’s (NPS) support for a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates.
The NPS is also the largest shareholder in many of South Korea’s biggest companies. Samsung Group, which oversees nearly 60 affiliate companies, from electronics and appliances to insurance and pharmaceuticals, had consistently denied the allegations before Lee’s arrest.