Europcar's VW Crafters

Volkswagen bids to take over Europcar as part of move to become a 'mobility tech company'

Mobility services, rather than manufacturing cars, are the future

THE VOLKSWAGEN Group has launched a £2.4 billion takeover bid of leading car rental firm Europcar in an effort by the company to become a significant player in the “future mobility market”.

The car maker has joined with London-based asset management firm Attestor Limited and Dutch mobility provider Pon Holdings — a bicycle manufacturer that includes famous British brand Raleigh in its line-up — to work on the takeover of the French business.

Europcar is Europe’s leading vehicle rental company, with more than five million customers per year, and a fleet of more than 350,000 cars, vans and other vehicles at upwards of 3,500 sites across the territory. Existing shareholders with a 68% stake in Europcar have already committed to accepting the offer.

Should 67% of Volkswagen Group shareholders approve the deal, the takeover bid will move on to the French Stock Market Authority — where Europcar shares are traded — for approval, as relevant antitrust authorities scrutinise the details.

If approved, the companies believe the process should be completed by late 2021 or early 2022.

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Group CEO, said: “The mobility market is changing rapidly as customers increasingly demand new and innovative on-demand solutions, such as subscription and sharing models to complement car ownership. 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.”

While the Volkswagen Group is leading Europcar’s takeover, and will have a majority shareholding should it be approved, the company doesn’t plan to incorporate the rental firm into its portfolio of brands. Instead, VW says that it will operate Europcar “at arms’ length”, by establishing a new joint company called Green Mobility Holding. This will allow Attestor and Pon to contribute to Europcar’s transformation from a vehicle rental firm into a “mobility provider”.

The takeover is part of the Volkswagen Group’s plan to become more than just a car manufacturer. “Through partnering with relevant industry experts, we will increase speed on our way to transform the group into a globally leading mobility tech company,” Herbert Diess said.