Vodafone to buy Cobra Automotive to fuel IoT strategy

Posted on 20 Jun 2014 by Tim Brown

Vodafone has announced that it plans to acquire Italian company Cobra Automotive Technologies, which provides electronics services to the car industry, for €145m (£115m).

Vodafone has also entered into an agreement with the main Cobra Shareholders to effect certain matters including agreeing to tender their Cobra Shares into the Takeover Offer.

The voluntary public takeover offer is part of Vodafone’s strategy to connect more everyday objects with the British mobile telecommunications company eager to develop its business in the so-called machine-to-machine industry — also known as the Internet of Things.

The growth in connected products represents a potentially lucrative sales opportunity for the mobile telecommunications industry, analysts say, with new connected wireless devices set to surpass the number of mobile handsets in the coming decade, according to consultancy PwC.

Cobra provides vehicle manufacturers, dealerships and aftermarket customers with a range of products and services, including telematics, usage-based insurance, and vehicle tracking.

“The combination of Vodafone and Cobra will create a new global provider of connected car services,” Erik Brenneis, director of machine-to-machine at Vodafone, said Monday.

Vodafone employs 250 staff at its own machine-to-machine operations, which reported a 21% rise in revenue for the fiscal year through March. Focused on automotive, smart meters and consumer-electronic products, the company said it increased M2M connections to 16.2 million from 12 million in the period and forecast connections to grow an average of 24% a year between this year and 2018.