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Google Leads 542 Million Deal in Secretive Startup Magic Leap

Google Inc. is hedging its bets as it prepares for a future when our laptops and smartphones will be antiquated technology.

In one of the largest venture-capital deals on record, the tech giant and a slew of well-heeled firms are investing $542 million in Magic Leap Inc., a secretive visual-display company near Miami. The startup is developing its own eyeglasses-like device, different from Google Glass, designed to project computer-generated images over a real-life setting.

Sundar Pichai, the head of Google’s Android, Chrome and Apps businesses, will join Magic Leap’s board in a rare move, while Don Harrison, the company’s head of corporate development, will become a board observer.

The investment group also includes chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.QCOM +0.91%, film-finance company Legendary Entertainment Inc., private-equity firm KKR KKR -1.51% & Co., Paul Allen’s investment firm Vulcan Inc., and venture-capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, and Obvious Ventures.

The deal values the company at just under $2 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Earlier this year, Google’s rival, Facebook Inc.FB +0.37%, paid $2 billion to buy Oculus Rift, a maker of a virtual-reality headset. The two companies are using their sizable cash piles to bet on new methods of communication to ensure their place on all kinds of devices.

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