Porsche SE Buys 10% of Traffic-Tracker Tech Startup Inrix

Porsche Automobil Holding SE bought a 10 percent stake in traffic information provider Inrix Inc. for $55 million, its first move to expand its assets beyond a controlling stake in Volkswagen AG.

The deal is the Stuttgart, Germany-based company’s first investment after its attempt to acquire Volkswagen backfired and triggered the departure of its former management.

“Connectivity between cars and infrastructure is one of the important megatrends in the automotive industry,” Philipp von Hagen, the Porsche SE board member responsible for investment management, said in a statement. “We see a tremendous potential in this segment.”

Porsche SE said earlier this year it plans to spend the bulk of its cash pile, which stood at 2.54 billion euros ($3.3 billion) at the end of the June, on acquisitions. Inrix is based in Kirkland, Washington.

The holding company looked at more than 24 potential takeover targets last year, though high valuations helped prevent a deal from happening sooner, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn told reporters on March 18. Winterkorn is also the CEO of Volkswagen.

Porsche SE has been looking into purchases of assets related to the automotive industry, including drive train systems, material and safety technology.

Porsche SE’s only directly held asset so far is 50.7 percent of the common stock in Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen following the 2012 sale of the Porsche AG sports-car brand to VW in the wake of an unsuccessful takeover battle.

Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking tried to acquire its larger German peer VW. The plan collapsed when credit markets dried up during the financial crisis and VW took over control at Porsche’s holding company.

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