Autotech sector M&A hit hard by Covid-19 crisis, says Hampleton partners

The latest Autotech M&A market report from Hampleton Partners, an international technology mergers and acquisitions adviser, reveals that this year the sector has been impacted by Covid-19 lockdown measures, economic recession and a collapse in car sales in Europe and the USA. 

Autotech registered an 11 per cent dip in deal volume in the first six-months of 2020 vs the second half of 2019, and recorded only USD4 billion in disclosed transaction value, in what is normally a buoyant sector for M&A. 

The global rise in e-commerce did provide some good news for dealmakers in logistics, fleet management and digital services. 

Miro Parizek, principal partner, Hampleton Partners, says: “We saw the dramatic impact of the pandemic on automotive deal-making in the first half of 2020, with OEMs and suppliers distracted from M&A while putting out supply chain fires and dealing with reduced demand for new vehicles.

“It remains to be seen what the long-term impact on car usage and buyer habits will be post-Covid, but as the first six months of 2020 closed out we noted a recovery in China and we anticipate that the market overall will improve in 2H2020. After all, with disruption comes new opportunities for consolidation and inorganic growth.”

Mobility and Fleet Management saw a slight uptick in deal volumes as logistics companies geared-up their freight and transportation assets to ensure they can cope with the increase in deliveries created by the overall increase in e-commerce during the pandemic. For instance, provider of fleet management systems Omnitracs (backed by Vista Equity Partners) acquired VisTracks, a leading provider of SaaS-based compliance solutions to the transportation and logistics industry. 

Volkswagen’s desire to build a global online sales platform so its customers can buy any of its brands as well as manage digital services and on-demand functions for its fully networked vehicles, led it to acquire the remaining 51 per cent of shares it did not already own in Stuttgart startup Diconium. 1,200 Diconium employees are now part of the software unit of VW, but the company will not be rebranded. 

Largest disclosed autotech deals Jan-June 2020

The three largest deals of the period were: 

• Amazon’s acquisition of self-driving car company Zoox for $1.3bn to create a fleet of self-driving taxis, in competition with Alphabet’s Waymo.

• Nebula Acquisition’s deal with Open Lending, the lending enablement platform for the automotive finance market, for USD1.1 billionn, and

• Intel’s acquisition of Moovit, the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions company, for USD900 million.