They have been wanting to get into the US for a long time. It's been about 2 years since they opened their INAX showroom in New York City, and I guess they figured this was a way to increase penetration other than organically.
It will be interesting to see what they do about AS's quality control. I can't imagine that Japanese managers would do anything other than freak out if they saw what AS is willing to sell to the public. Here's hoping that they're not looking at this as a passive investment.