ZF Friedrichshafen Tops SAF With $516 Million Bid for Haldex

  • Swedish company accepts ZF’s offer that beats SAF’s by 5.9%
  • ZF CFO said two months ago that company would seek more deals

ZF Friedrichshafen AG offered 4.41 billion kronor ($516 million) to acquire Haldex AB to widen its offering of truck parts, topping an unsolicited bid for the Swedish manufacturer from German competitor SAF-Holland SA.

ZF will pay 100 kronor a share in cash, 34 percent more than the Swedish company’s average share price prior to SAF’s offer in mid-July, the Friedrichshafen, Germany-based auto-component maker said in a statement Thursday. Haldex said separately that its board accepted the “clearly superior” bid, which exceeds SAF’s by 5.9 percent.

Automotive suppliers are combining to share the costs of developing new technologies as car and truck producers break new frontiers in automated driving and electric powering systems. European commercial-vehicle makers ran a so-called platooning test in April that had trucks driving semi-autonomously in a convoy to Rotterdam, using Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors and cameras for linked controls.

“We need brakes” to fill in a product gap for trucks, and “this is what Haldex is bringing in,” ZF Chief Executive Officer Stefan Sommer told journalists on a conference call. The two manufacturers’ line-ups are “fully complementary,” and the German company’s focus is on adding components rather than cutting costs.

SAF’s View

SAF, based in the Bavarian town of Bessenbach, bid 94.42 kronor a share for Stockholm-based Haldex on July 14, saying it was seeking to create a line-up combining mechanical parts with sensors and electronics for commercial vehicles. SAF has “taken notice and we are evaluating our options,” a spokeswoman said by phone.

Haldex was unchanged at 104.25 kronor as of 2:14 p.m. in Stockholm after rising earlier in the day. SAF gained 2.7 percent to 10.75 euros in Frankfurt. ZF is closely held.

ZF Chief Financial Officer Konstantin Sauer said two months ago that the German company would pursue more takeovers following its $12.9 billion purchase of U.S. car-parts maker TRW last year. Sommer said Thursday that ZF is “constantly working on our product portfolio,” and that it’s seeking to provide a full line of commercial-vehicle components as it adapts automated-driving technology to trucks.

The purchase of Haldex would raise ZF’s annual revenue from truck components to about 4 billion euros ($4.45 billion) from 3.5 billion euros, accounting for 15 percent to 20 percent of group sales, Sommer said.

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