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Vodafone buys automotive specialist Cobra for M2M tech

Alex Scroxton

Mobile network operator Vodafone has offered up €145m (£115m) to acquire Italian in-car security and telematics specialist Cobra Automotive Technologies.

An agreement signed with Cobra’s main shareholders will see Vodafone take control of just under 74% of Cobra’s share capital, with a further 20% stake in the business currently held by minority shareholders of Cobra’s Telematics subsidiary to be acquired for €20m conditional on completion.

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Cobra specialises in a number of automotive technologies, including low-speed manoeuvre assistance systems, car alarm technology, geo-location and tracking services to aid in recovery of stolen vehicles, usage-based insurance and smart insurance services for fleet managers and insurers.

Customers include car dealers, after-market customers and manufacturers including Audi, Infiniti, Nissan, Renault and Tesla Motors. It runs service operation centres providing customer assistance in 36 European countries.

Acquisitive Vodafone, which has its eye on expanding its machine-to-machine (M2M) capabilities beyond mere connectivity, said Cobra’s telematics solutions and wider automotive expertise would help it provide a wider range of services to automotive customers.

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

The acquisition, which is conditional on various anti-trust approvals, is expected to complete some time in the third quarter.


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