Vodafone to talk to machines with Cobra Automotive deal

VODAFONE yesterday announced its intention to buy Cobra Automotive Technologies for €1.49 per share in cash, in a deal worth €145m (£115m).

The Italian firm specialises in car electronic services including vehicle tracking, usage-based insurance and security to the car industry. The deal comes as Vodafone seeks to expand its range of machine to machine (M2M) services to customers.

Commenting on the proposed deal, Erik Brenneis, director of M2M at Vodafone, said: “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.”

M2M is seen as a strong potential growth area as part of the wider trend towards the growing internet of things market, with Vodafone’s own M2M department, currently comprising 250 employees, reporting a 21 per cent rise in revenues in the last fiscal year.

Cobra, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, operates around the world in countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.

The deal is set to complete in the third quarter of 2014 once it has been approved by anti-trust regulators.

Shares in Cobra closed up 49 per cent at €1.47 yesterday.

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