Qualcomm, SSW Partners to buy Veoneer in $4.5 billion deal

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By Helena Soderpalm and Krystal Hu

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc and SSW Partners have reached an agreement to buy Swedish automotive technology group Veoneer for $4.5 billion, Veoneer said on Monday.

Veoneer's expertise in making advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) made it an attractive takeover target for both Qualcomm and Canada's Magna.

Qualcomm in August offered to buy Veoneer at an 18.4% premium to a July bid worth around $3.8 billion by Magna that had already been accepted by Veoneer's board.

Qualcomm's bid came after it signed a collaboration deal with Veoneer to develop a software and chip platform for driver-assistance systems called Arriver in January 2021.

Qualcomm and SWW Partners, a newly-founded investment firm based in New York, will buy Veoneer for $37 per share in cash, Veoneer's statement said.

The unusual deal structure allows SSW Partners to buy all outstanding shares of Veoneer, after which it will lead a process to look for a strategic buyer for Veoneer's Tier-1 supplier businesses, including the restraint control systems (RCS) and active safety businesses, while selling the Arriver business to Qualcomm.

"This transaction structure facilitates the long-term success of all Veoneer's businesses," Veoneer said.

Magna had a similar interest in buying Veoneer, as it tries to compete with ADAS makers such as Aptiv, Bosch and Continental.

Veoneer said it had terminated its prior acquisition agreement with Magna. In a separate statement, Magna said Veoneer will pay a termination fee of $110 million to Magna.

Stockholm-listed shares in Veoneer, which was spun off in 2018 from air bag and seatbelt maker Autoliv, rose 4.33% to trade at 313.4 crowns ($35.91) at close.

(1 Swedish crown = $0.115)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Helena Soderpalm and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Schmollinger)

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