Dec 7, 2016: Panasonic, leading Japanese consumer electronics maker, is in talks with Austrian LED headlight maker ZKW Group, for a possible acquisition. However, no details of the acquisition value have been announced, according to a source.
Nikkei, Japanese-language newspaper, had earlier estimated that the headlight manufacturer could value US $880 million (100 billion yen).
Industry insiders believe that Panasonic’s interest in ZKW is due to its aim to penetrate the automobile lighting market, as demands in electronic appliances slows down. Panasonic has already invested in automated cars, and this domain has good potential as automotive lights are being demanded due to road safety reasons.
Panasonic is also interested in ZKW automotive lighting technology to integrate with its extensive sensor technology. The two companies can work together to develop new automotive lighting products to compete with Koito and Valeo.
In the global automotive lighting market, key Japanese automotive lighting manufacturer Koito and French car light maker Valeo hold about 50% share in the market, and ZKW has only 5% share.
ZKW makes high-beam headlights that reduce glare for oncoming drivers or pedestrians. ZKW revenue would exceed US $952 million by 2016 (EUR 900 million), up from less than EUR 400 million in 2011.
Samsung had also acquired connected automobile solution maker Harman International Industries for US $8 billion, while Siemens and Valeo have established a joint venture to develop drivers for electrical vehicles (EV).