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Wheelings & Dealings: Vodafone Acquires Cobra's Connected Automotive Technologies

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June 19, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Vodafone Acquires Cobra's Connected Automotive Technologies

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

Mobile phone company Vodafone (News - Alert) is set to acquire Cobra Automotive Technologies through a voluntary tender offer at €1.49 ($2.03) per share in cash. Cobra reportedly has a market value of €145 million ($197.5 million).

The company has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Cobra’s main shareholders who, together, hold nearly 73.96 percent of the company’s share capital.   

Italy-based Cobra is a provider of security and telematics solutions to the automotive and insurance industries. It has a global presence, which includes operations in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.

According to Bloomberg (News - Alert), this acquisition of Cobra marks Vodafone’s “first foray into automotive software as more cars are connected to the Internet.”

Vodafone latest acquisition allows it to “offer automakers a suite of connectivity and applications and a better opportunity to win more contracts,” Simon Gordon, a spokesman at Vodafone, said to Bloomberg.

He also indicated that the company may use Cobra’s tracking technology, which is used to locate stolen cars, in fleet management and distribution of white-label goods.

Meanwhile, Vodafone has also entered into an agreement with certain minority shareholders of Cobra’s Telematics subsidiary to acquire their 20 percent of shareholding for a consideration of €20 million ($27 million).

“The combination of Vodafone and Cobra will create a new global provider of connected car services. We plan to invest in the business to offer our automotive and insurance customers a full range of telematics services,” said Erik Brenneis, director of M2M at Vodafone.

Vodafone is seeking to expand its machine-to-machine (M2M) capability beyond connectivity. The company sees the acquisition of Cobra as part of its strategy to expand this capability. With Cobra’s telematics products and expertise, Vodafone expects to provide a more comprehensive range of end-to-end services to automotive customers.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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