VW pays $3.7 billion for Navistar & access to North America

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Navistar, parent company of one of the oldest truck manufacturers in U.S., has been acquired by Traton, the commercial truck business of Volkswagen.

On Friday, Traton agreed to buy the remaining stake of Navistar — 84% — for $3.7 billion. The purchase gives VW access to the North American truck market.

After sitting on an offer of $43 per share for more than a month, Navistar Friday morning countered an expiring “take it or leave it” letter from Traton with a higher asking price of $44.50.

Navistar and Traton in 2016 partnered in a procurement joint venture and strategic technology and supply collaboration, beefing up both companies’ ability to scale globally. Dialogue between Navistar and Volkswagen – which also operates the MAN and Scania business units in Europe and abroad – began in 2015.

Navistar and Traton are already connected in some of their business interests. Each holds a minority position in self-driving tech company TuSimple. Traton, as part of the partnership, was slated to develop self-driving trucks for the European market. Navistar was to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving trucks targeted for production by 2024.

“We are pleased to have reached agreement in principle for a transaction after intensive negotiations with Navistar,” Traton CEO Matthias Gründler said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are looking forward to completing our due diligence and obtaining the necessary approvals in respect of this exciting deal in order to welcome the new Traton family member.”

Traton is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and maker of  MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, and RIO. In 2019, Traton’s brands sold around 242,000 vehicles.