Volkswagen ups efforts to acquire Navistar

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Traton’s interest in acquiring Lisle, Illinois, truck manufacturer Navistar not only survived a global pandemic, it heated up.

Volkswagen’s commercial truck arm, which already holds 16.8 percent in the maker of International Trucks, in January offered $35 a share to acquire the rest of the company. Barely a month later, coronavirus put talks on hold and the economic fallout from COVID-19 battered both companies’ stock prices.

On Thursday, Traton bumped its offer to $43 per share.

Navistar, confirming receipt of the increased offer, said via statement released Thursday that its Board of Directors and management team “are committed to exploring all avenues to maximize value. Consistent with its fiduciary duties, the Board will carefully review the revised proposal from Traton in consultation with its advisors to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.”

The two companies 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 on opportunities to synergize and strengthen each company, culminating in Volkswagen’s investment.

Christian Schulz, Traton’s chief financial officer and a member of its Board of Management, currently sits on Navistar’s Board of Directors, serving on its finance committee.

In July, Navistar named Persio Lisboa president and chief executive officer, replacing Troy Clarke, who has held the roles of Navistar president, chief executive officer and member of the board of directors since April 2013 and chairman of the board of directors since February 2017. Clarke now serves the company as its executive chairman.

Earlier this week, Navistar International announced a third quarter 2020 net loss of $37 million, compared with third quarter 2019 net income of $156 million – mostly driven by the impact of COVID-19, as well as prior year comparable quarter results that were near the peak of the prior industry cycle.

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