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Qualcomm and SSW get into gear to strike definitive agreement to acquire Veoneer

Purchase of American-Swedish provider of automotive technology designed to augment comms tech giant’s ability to create an open and competitive advanced driver-assistance systems platform for the global auto industry and take ownership of RCS and active safety businesses

Just weeks after French car manufacturer Renault announced that it would use Veoneer’s Snapdragon automotive cockpit platforms to power its advanced infotainment system, Qualcomm is advancing its automotive portfolio in a venture with investment firm SSW Partners to acquire the automotive technology provider in a deal valued at $4.5bn.

Headquartered in Stockholm and said to be building on a heritage of close to 70 years of automotive safety development, Veoneer is a leading provider of automotive technology whose stated purpose is to create trust in mobility with the aim of being able to design, develop and manufacture software, hardware and systems for occupant protection, advanced driving assistance systems, and collaborative and automated driving to manufacturers globally. It has 7,500 employees in 11 countries and its 2020 sales amounted to $1.37bn.

In agreeing to the purchase by Qualcomm and SSW, Veoneer has terminated its prior acquisition agreement with Magna International. Qualcomm and SSW stress that their transaction structure facilitates the long-term success of all Veoneer’s businesses, and at closing of the deal SSW Partners will acquire all the outstanding capital stock of Veoneer, shortly after which it will sell the firm’s Arriver business to Qualcomm and retain Veoneer’s Tier 1 suppliers. SSW Partners will lead the process of finding what it calls “strong, long-term” strategic partners.

Claiming to have already demonstrated a successful partnership with Arriver, Qualcomm expressed confidence that the Arriver business would thrive at Qualcomm. On completion of the transactions, Qualcomm will incorporate Arriver’s Computer Vision, Drive Policy and Driver Assistance assets into its leading Snapdragon Ride advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). This will augment Qualcomm’s existing ability to deliver ADAS platforms for automakers and Tier 1 businesses at scale.

For its part, SSW Partners will work with Veoneer’s management to ensure the pursuit of the automotive tech provider’s existing business plan and to identify strong, long-term strategic partners for its Restraint Control Systems (RCS) and Active Safety businesses.

The principals of SSW Partners have substantial investing, operating and transaction experience internationally, as well as a track record of success in collaborating with management teams in multiple geographies and industries. They are experienced investors and advisors in Europe and the automotive sector and will prioritise the smooth continuation of business activities for the customers and employees of the RCS and Active Safety businesses. SSW Partners’ investment in Veoneer will represent its first capital commitment as a partnership since its founding at the beginning of the year.

“This transaction creates superior value for our shareholders,” remarked Veoneer chairman, president and CEO Jan Carlson. “It also provides attractive opportunities to our Arriver team at Qualcomm and allows our other businesses to find long-term industrial partners where they can continue to develop.

“Our board and management team remain focused on delivering on our objectives, driving continuous improvements across the organisation and launching new technologies and programs for our customers. Despite significant industry-wide challenges, our team has done an outstanding job positioning Veoneer for success, building on our leading ecosystem of partners, cutting-edge technology and a strong order book,” added Carlson.

“Qualcomm is the natural owner of Arriver,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm. “By integrating these assets, Qualcomm accelerates its ability to deliver a leading and horizontal ADAS solution as part of its digital chassis platform. We believe this transaction and structure benefits both Qualcomm’s and Veoneer’s shareholders, positions all of Veoneer’s businesses for success and provides a compelling opportunity to customers and employees.”

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