NASHVILLE, Tenn. ― Bridgestone Americas Inc. continues to ramp up its sustainable mobility solutions — what it calls "the pillar of the company's advanced mobile strategy" — by reaching an agreement to acquire the Azuga Holding Inc.'s fleet management platform from Sumeru Equity Partners, Danlaw, Inc. and other shareholders for $391 million.
Both boards of directors have approved the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.
Once customer closing conditions and regulatory approvals are satisfied, Bridgestone will gain ownership of Azuga's brands and business platforms.
The Azuga fleet management platform includes advanced safety and fleet management tools the tire maker said will complement its existing portfolio of cloud-based fleet mobility solutions. Bridgestone said Azuga will fortify Bridgestone's ability to accommodate small to enterprise-sized fleets.
According to Bridgestone, the platform provides real-time vehicle operations insights and data analytics that will improve safety, increase efficiency and enhance customer service experiences. Bridgestone said it plans to leverage Azuga's "robust fleet data capture platform" to develop Bridgestone's core tire products and artificial intelligence solutions.
Paolo Ferrari, president and CEO, Bridgestone Americas as well as global chief solutions business officer, Bridgestone Corp., said the company is "working toward providing the most sustainable and intelligent solutions for safer and more efficient mobility, and Azuga will help us accelerate their development and deployment to our customers."
Azuga, founded in 2012, has developed a fleet management platform that inclues GPS tracking, video telematics, driver behavior management and accident reduction solutions for insurers. Bridgestone said these attributes are important for fleets and insurers by improving safety as well as reducing fuel consumption and wear and tear on vehicles.
According to Bridgestone, Azuga has more than 6,000 fleet business customers in North America, including commercial fleets, insurance companies and government agencies.
Azuga will retain its headquarters in Freemont, Calif., while all Azuga employees and facilities across the U.S. and India will join Bridgestone upon completion of the transaction.
"Bridgestone's focus on building a more sustainable future through mobility technologies is well aligned with the mission of Azuga," Azuga CEO Ananth Rani said. "Together, our teams will continue the momentum we've already created, and accelerate our path toward providing the most advanced mobility solutions for our customers and society."
Mark Haller, principal at Sumeru Equity Partners, said since his company has invested in Azuga in 2018, it has "become a leader in the fleet management and mobility solutions market. It has been a privilege to partner with the Azuga team over the last three years, and we look forward to watching Bridgestone and Azuga thrive together in the future."
This marks the second acquisition in less than two months in the space. In mid-June, Bridgestone Americas announced an investment in self-driving trucking company Kodiak Robotics Inc. That investment, Bridgestone said, provides it an opportunity to use its smart-sensing tire technologies in Kodiak's Level 4 autonomous vehicles now operating in Texas.
PJT Partners is serving as financial advisor to Bridgestone, and Hogan Lovells is serving as legal counsel. Barclays is serving as financial advisor to Azuga, and Gibson Dunn is serving as legal counsel.