TRW next takeover target? ZF says perhaps

July 11, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
German automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG announced that it is in takeover talks with US based tier one TRW Automotive holdings. TRW acknowledges such talks without however providing details as to the identity of the potential buyer.

A takeover of TRW Automotive would give ZF access to safety electronics and driver assistant systems technology. These technology fields currently are not covered by ZF, a company with high expertise in mechatronic systems, in particular in transmissions and undercarriages for passenger cars and trucks.

The move - if realised - could also strengthen ZF's position in the competition with the tandem of Continental and Schaeffler AG: Schaeffler, like ZF a mechatronics company in the first place, owns 46% of Continental's shares. Over the past couple of years, Schaeffler has expanded its focus towards automotive-specific topics, in particular in connection with electromobility. A potential acquisition of TRW through ZF would create another powerhouse in automotive electronics and automotive mechatronics, provided it materialises. The move would also continue the consolidation of the automotive supplier market after Visteon's recent acquisition of Johnson Controls.

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