Vodafone has completed the acquisition of Italian firm Cobra Automotive Technologies. The deal valued the company at £115m.
The network carrier purchased more than 95% of Cobra's share capital. It will now begin the business of buying up the remaining shares. Cobra will then delist from the Italian Stock Exchange.
Headquartered in Italy, Cobra provides security and telematics solutions to the automotive and insurance industries. It has operations in Italy, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, China and Brazil.
The business provides car manufacturers, dealerships and after-market customers with products and services such as telematics, usage-based insurance, and vehicle tracking.
The acquisition of Cobra is in line with Vodafone’s strategy to expand its machine-to-machine (M2M) capability beyond connectivity.
Vodafone M2M connects previously isolated machines or devices to the internet - introducing new functionality and enhanced services without the need for human intervention.
Vodafone was named global M2M leader by Machina Research this year, for the third year in a row.
Cobra’s telematics products and expertise will now enable Vodafone to provide a more comprehensive range of end-to-end services to automotive customers.
When Mobile contacted Vodafone today, the company referred us to the June statement by Erik Brenneis, director of M2M at Vodafone, who 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.'
CCS Insight's Kester Mann said that Vodafone is clearly keen to tap into the huge potential offered by the M2M sector as its traditional sources of revenue continue to decline. The carrier already has a tie-up with BMW.
'However, this deal goes beyond pure connectivity as Cobra also sells services to car-makers and insurance companies,' he explained to Mobile, adding that this could enable Vodafone to provide a range of additional services.
'Simply connecting cars is unlikely to provide meaningful short-term revenue, but offering a range of supporting services could be very lucrative indeed,' he stated.
Automotive is rapidly becoming a leading sector for M2M with many manufacturers having already deployed entertainment and security features, he added.