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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

KKR invests in smart home tech company Savant Systems, (NYSE: BKS)

Private equity firm KKR & Co LLP said on Wednesday that it is investing $90 million in Savant Systems, a company that helps control the lighting, temperature and TVs in some of the world's wealthiest homes. The private company, which is valued at roughly $200 million following this round of funding, was founded in 2005 by engineer and tech entrepreneur Robert Madonna. It sells home automation systems to the luxury market and can be found in homes of tech CEOs and musicians, said Chief Executive Officer William Lynch in an interview. Its technology is closely tied to Apple devices and operating system, according to its website.The systems, which runs on a home's Wifi network, can control everything in a house from energy, lighting, music to a Comcast cable box, all from a phone.The industry for "smart" devices in homes has been attracting attention from large tech companies, with Google spending $3.2 billion in January to purchase Nest Labs, a company that makes thermostats and smoke alarms that connect to the Internet.Lynch, the former CEO of Barnes & Noble, said in an interview that the company had been looking to raise capital from investors before choosing KKR, which will take a roughly 35 percent stake.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (Barnes & Noble) is a bookseller. Shares of BKS traded higher by 3.37% or $0.78/share to $23.94. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $12.59 and as high as $23.90. On average, 895734 shares of BKS exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 651478.