VW Poised to Sign Off on $3.7 Billion Navistar Deal

Volkswagen AG’s board is preparing to sign off on its heavy-truck unit Traton SE acquiring U.S. manufacturer Navistar International Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The VW board is scheduled to meet Saturday to approve the deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Traton announced an agreement last month to purchase the remainder of Navistar stock it doesn’t already own for $44.50 a share, which would cost the company about $3.7 billion.

A Traton spokeswoman declined to comment and a Navistar representative didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Navistar, the maker of International branded trucks, is a major player in North America. Traton has coveted the company as a means for the German manufacturer to challenge sector leaders Daimler AG and Volvo AB on a global scale. The VW unit makes Scania and MAN vehicles and is largely dependent on sales in Europe and Latin America.

VW is Navistar’s second-largest shareholder with a 16.7% stake, narrowly behind billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s 16.8% holding. MHR Fund Management, the hedge fund founded by Mark Rachesky, owns almost 16.4% of the Lisle, Illinois-based company.

While analysts have largely praised the logic of Traton’s purchase, the company has experienced how difficult it can be to integrate industrial operations after taking full control. Cooperation between Scania and MAN has been complicated for years by internal rivalries, and Traton embarked on a deep restructuring at MAN after cost-sharing projects with Scania failed to stop a dramatic erosion in earnings.

Apart from establishing a U.S. footprint through the Navistar takeover, Traton has been building its presence in Asia. It announced a plan last month to expand an existing purchasing cooperation with Toyota Motor Corp.’s truck subsidiary Hino by adding joint work on battery-electric and fuel-cell trucks.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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