VW says French regulator backs Europcar takeover

26 November 2021

French market regulator AMF is backing Volkswagen (VW) Group’s proposed takeover of Europcar Mobility Group, according to the carmaker. The deal values Europcar at €2.9 billion, with the German manufacturer saying it has reached an important milestone in the acquisition.

VW partnered with London-based asset manager Attestor Limited and Dutch mobility group Pon Holdings to set up the deal. AMF has not announced when the process of tendering shares will begin.

In September, VW filed a proposed cash tender offer of €0.50 per share. Europcar previously said the offer is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2021 and is likely to complete in the first three months of 2022 – subject to certain antitrust clearances.

Europcar is active in more than 3,500 locations spread across 140 countries. In 2019, its fleet surpassed 350,000 vehicles, serving over five million customers. The company is keen on ‘going green’ and offers a range of car- and van-rental services that it calls ‘C02 light’.

VW said Europcar has a 27% share of the vehicle-rental market and will be able to provide the German car manufacturer with ‘relevant capabilities’ to develop an integrated mobility platform. This, combined with Europcar’s leading position as a major player in the European car market, makes it an attractive asset for VW.

Expanding mobility services

Large-scale takeovers in the automotive industry are always watched with great interest and the acquisition of Europcar presents VW with ample opportunities to grow its mobility services. The German carmaker is keen to move on from being solely a vehicle manufacturer, striving to become a true mobility provider.

In a hefty offer document, VW detailed its reasons for the takeover, saying it wants to successfully transform Europcar ‘to meet customer expectations in a significantly changing market, with an increasing customer appetite for new and innovative on-demand mobility services.’

Adding Europcar to its portfolio will allow VW to expand its mobility-as-a-service and transport-as-a-service product offerings – which is a key part of its New Auto strategy. In the future, VW aims to rely on Europcar as the basis for its mobility platform.

In a previous statement, VW CEO Herbert Diess said the mobility market is changing swiftly, with customers increasingly demanding new and innovative on-demand mobility 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,’ Diess said back in July when the carmaker first launched its takeover bid.

Volkswagen is in the middle of a transformation, aiming to become a global market leader in electric vehicles. The company is also redefining mobility, focusing not only on individual mobility and electrification, but also on autonomous driving. With VW joining forces with Europcar, it will gain additional value and potential, especially in an automotive market shifting its focus increasingly on shared-mobility solutions.