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Bridgestone Europe to acquire TomTom Telematics to create ‘fleet solutions powerhouse’

Bridgestone Europe has signed a deal to acquire TomTom Telematics from Dutch navigation firm TomTom for a cash consideration of €910m (£800m).

 

Bridgestone EMEA said the acquisition underlines its new strategy to transform from a tyre producer into a mobility solutions leader

The announcement will see the tyre giant’s European subsidiary team up with the digital fleet solutions provider to create a “fleet solutions powerhouse in EMEA well-positioned to unlock new digital business models across commercial and consumer mobility”.

TomTom had said last September that it was considering options for its telematics division after conducting a “diligent review” of telematics over the summer and had received “several expressions of interest”. According to reports, Michelin had also expressed an interest in acquiring the telematics specialist, which has a growing installed user base of 860,000 vehicles – of which more than two-thirds are commercial – and offers solutions including WebFleet and NextFleet.

The news of the deal comes just days after Bridgestone Europe said it was partnering with Iris Capital and its corporate investors to expand into new mobility services. In a statement, Bridgestone said the acquisition of TomTom Telematics would accelerate it on “its journey to becoming a mobility solutions leader in the region, and the combination of both companies’ offerings will allow Bridgestone to cross-sell tyres and solutions to a larger customer base. Furthermore, the data access will enhance Bridgestone’s virtual tyre development and testing as well as connected tyre innovation benefiting all customers including OEMs”.

The firm also said it would be able to accelerate TomTom Telematics’ development through its strong brand equity, large customer base, preferred supplier status at many of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers and fleets, and 2,600 points-of-sale in EMEA. This is backed up by its background in R&D investment, and its Rome-based Digital Garage dedicated to the development of digital mobility solutions.

Research by the firm had identified digital mobility solutions and fleet solutions as a strategic priority, which it said was reinforced by the growing importance of fleets over individually-owned vehicles for transportation of people and goods.

It added: “Increasing demand in the transportation industry means that fleet owners and managers need to maximise productivity and minimise total cost of ownership more than ever.”

Commenting further, Paolo Ferrari, CEO and President of Bridgestone EMEA, executive vice president of Bridgestone Group, said: “We have found our perfect match in TomTom Telematics. Our complementary assets and capabilities will create a fleet solutions powerhouse and will further strengthen Bridgestone’s digital technology arm. Beyond scale, there would be considerable benefits by complementing our offerings, allowing us, among many other opportunities, to sell tyres and solutions across our customers. We are now well-positioned in EMEA to accelerate our data-driven business, expand our fleet customer base and seize fast-growing, profitable opportunities in the automotive mobility industry.”

“We recognise and respect the talent and skill of TomTom Telematics’ management team and its 670 employees. It’s our intention to foster and grow the business and support its current plans. We want TomTom Telematics to continue serving its customers as successfully as it has done over the last few years and take advantage of its number one position in a fast-growing market.”

TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn also spoke on the deal, saying: “After a thorough review of multiple strategic options, we have determined that the sale of TomTom Telematics to Bridgestone is in the best interest of both TomTom Telematics and our core location technology business. We will continue to invest in our innovative map-making system, enabling faster map updates while lowering operational costs, paving the road towards autonomous driving.”

The acquisition – which comes two months after rival Microlise acquired a 20% stake in the UK’s Trakm8 – follows other recent work by Bridgestone to strengthen its digital capabilities in EMEA, including launching new digital solutions and applications such as Tirematics, Mobox, FleetPulse and Bridgestone Connect.

The deal is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2019, and is still subject to the usual regulatory approvals as well as consultation with TomTom employee representative bodies, and approval of TomTom’s shareholders.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.