Verizon Picks Up Telematics Firm, But No Bargain (VZ, HUTC, GM, TM, QCOM, TRMB)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has announced a definitive merger agreement with Hughes Telematics Inc. (OTC: HUTC). The all-cash offer totals $612 million, or $12/share. Hughes closed at $4.35 last night, calculating out to a premium of just over 175%.

Hughes makes vehicle telematics equipment that provides roadside assistance, turn-by-turn navigation systems, automated maintenance reminders, and the like. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) offers the Hughes service under its OnStar brand. Other car makers using services provided by Hughes include Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Peugeot Citroen, and Rolls-Royce.

Hughes also offers a fleet product called Networkfleet whose competitors include Qualcomm Corp. (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Trimble Navigation Ltd. (NASDAQ: TRMB) in supplying after-market telematics services to long-haul trucking fleets.

In its announcement Verizon noted:

We expect M2M [machine-to-machine] and telematics to drive significant growth for Verizon … In powerful combination with Verizon’s global IP network, cloud, mobility and security solutions, Hughes Telematics’ flexible service-delivery platform has the potential to reach beyond the automotive and transportation realm to create new opportunities in mHealth, asset tracking and home automation.

Verizon’s shares are down about -1.3% at $41.11 in the pre-market, within a 52-week range of $32.28-$42.96.

Shares of Hughes will surely pop when over-the-counter trading opens this morning.

Paul Ausick

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