Qualcomm’s $800 million Sale of Omnitracs Signals Growing Telematic Market

SAN DIEGO, CA. — Last Friday, Qualcomm Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Omnitracs to Vista Equity Partners to the tune of $800 million in cash.

It’s a big price tag for a telematics solution and, if anything, signals that the commercial vehicle communications market is — if you had any doubt — growing. That could mean more options — and hopefully better pricing — for customers.

“[T]he opportunity for fleet management and telematics is evolving rapidly, and we believe Omnitracs is well positioned to continue its leadership position as a stand-alone entity,” said Derek Aberle, executive vice president and group president of Qualcomm, in a statement.

“Most people in our industry see that the future in the world of telematics is the power of the applications, the software, the development, quick to market, flexibility, the access to the information, the affordability of the technology,” listed off Mike Ham, VP, Shaw Tracking, to Today’s Trucking. “And I think that Omnitracs has been bought by what we believe to be one of North America’s leaders in the diversified software environment.”

For its part, Vista, a private equity firm focused on investing in software and technology, said they chose to acquire Omnitracs because of its strong position, product offerings, loyal and satisfied customers, and its highly talented and devoted employees. “We are impressed with the compelling value proposition Omnitracs’ products and services offer their customers. We look forward to working with them and helping them to reach their full potential,” commented Robert Smith, chief executive officer and founder of Vista Equity Partners.

Ham said that the price tag points to the value Vista sees in Omnitracs and where it can go in terms of synergies and expansion, both in North America and Brazil. “What they do with that asset and how they grow it organically — and also do future acquisitions — it’s going to be an exciting time for everybody.”

Omnitracs’ customers and employees will benefit from a more concentrated focus on core fleet management solutions, said Jack Kennedy, president of Omnitracs, in a letter to customers, “which Vista can provide.”

“As a stand-alone company, Omnitracs will have greater flexibility to continue to drive product and service excellence and will be partnered with an investor group that shares these goals,” Kennedy explained. “We personally think this is a great development, and we are looking forward to the next phase of Omnitracs’ growth.”

The acquisition — set to close during the first quarter of 2014 — will include all of Omnitracs operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America, including Sylectus and FleetRisk Advisors.

— JR

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