Volkswagen Group moves step closer to acquiring Europcar

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VW and partners will buy rental firm for around $4.5 billion at 50 cents per share in mobility service push.

The Volkswagen Group has moved a step closer towards acquiring French vehicle rental firm Europcar after financial regulators in France approved its takeover offer.

The German automotive giant partnered with UK-based asset manager Attestor Limited and Dutch automotive conglomerate Pon Holdings in July to place a €2.9 billion (AUD$4.54bn) offer, at 50 cents per share.

“The consortium believes that this trend requires providers to operate an integrated platform and offer one-fleet-for-all offerings to maximise vehicle utilisation and platform quality,” said Volkswagen in its offer statement.

“In addition, urban mobility proposals based on autonomous driving technologies, such as robot cabs, will further accelerate the growth of on-demand mobility solutions.”

Attestor appears set to take a 27 per cent stake of Europcar’s shares, while Pon will control 7 per cent.

French financial regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)​​ will announce when the process of tendering shares will commence.

The move is a significant step in Volkswagen’s planned move to providing more advanced mobility solutions.

“The mobility market is changing rapidly as customers increasingly demand new and innovative on-demand mobility solutions, such as subscription and sharing models to complement car ownership,” Volkswagen Group chief executive Herbert Diess told Reuters earlier this year.

“Europcar provides advanced fleet management capabilities as well as a broad network of stations at major airports, railway stations and city locations and will help accelerate Volkswagen’s delivery of its ambitious mobility services targets.”

The Volkswagen Group previously wholly owned Europcar in the 1990s before selling the firm to investment firm Eurazeo for €1.26bn ($1.85bn) in 2006.

Europcar is active in 140 countries across the world, with operations in Europe, Australia, Western Asia, North America and Africa, and has a fleet of more than 350,000 vehicles.

Jack Warrick

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