ZF Buying WABCO

By Mike Osenga28 March 2019

In a blockbuster of a deal in the commercial vehicle powertrain world, Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WABCO for about $7 billion ($136.50 per share).

Together, ZF and WABCO will form a global integrated mobility systems provider for commercial vehicles. The combined company will have sales of approximately €40 billion. The planned acquisition has been approved by ZF’s management board and supervisory board and WABCO’s board of directors.

WABCO is a global supplier of braking control systems, technologies and services for commercial vehicles including trucks, buses and trailers. Its products and services include integrated braking systems and stability control, air suspension systems, transmission automation controls, as well as aerodynamics, telematics, and fleet management solutions. WABCO, generated €3.3 billion in revenues in 2018 and has some 16,000 employees in 40 countries.

Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF, said: “We believe that, together with WABCO, ZF can form the world’s leading integrated systems provider for commercial vehicle technology, creating long-term value and security for its customers, employees and owners.

“For ZF the acquisition of a specialist and leader for commercial vehicle braking systems means adding a stable and growing business segment and enables our existing commercial vehicle division to expand its expertise in vehicle dynamics control. This will create the foundation for ZF to offer comprehensive systems for safe and automated mobility solutions for passengers and goods to our customers,” Scheider said.

Jacques Esculier, chairman and CEO of WABCO, said: “Joining forces with highly respected ZF will create a leading global technology company well positioned to capitalize on future demand for autonomous, efficient and connected commercial vehicles. We have a long history of successful collaboration to develop innovative technologies with ZF with both companies sharing an uncompromising drive for excellence, passion for innovation, and exceptional customer focus.”

The planned acquisition is part of ZF’s Next Generation Mobility strategy and will expand the company’s expertise to include commercial vehicle braking solutions for the first time. This, ZF said, plays a central role for the control of automated driving functions – including emergency braking manoeuvres of trucks and trailers.

Following the acquisition, ZF said it will be able offer a fully integrated system approach, new drive systems for E-Mobility and autonomous driving functions. ZF expects that automated driving functions will primarily be implemented for commercial vehicles and in areas with low complexity and traffic (e.g. factory sites, airports, agriculture). The combination of both businesses is expected to further accelerate the development of new technologies to enable autonomous commercial vehicle functions, making ZF less dependent on the economic cycle of the passenger car industry.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, other customary closing conditions and shareholder approval with more than 50 percent of WABCO’s outstanding shares. ZF expects to close the transaction in the beginning of 2020.

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