WABCO Holdings Inc. announces it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. (Sheppard) to Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC for $149.5 million. Sheppard is a supplier of steering technologies for commercial vehicles. Bendix is an indirect subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse AG, a global supplier of braking systems and other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems.
WABCO is divesting Sheppard in connection with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice's review of the proposed merger between WABCO and ZF Friedrichshafen AG, and pursuant to the settlement order approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The Sheppard transaction is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals, and is contingent upon the closing of the ZF acquisition of WABCO, which is expected in early 2020 following receipt of remaining regulatory approvals.
McDermott Will & Emery served as WABCO’s legal advisors and Baird acted as financial advisor.
Expanded market presence
With the acquisition of Sheppard, Knorr-Bremse is broadening its international position in the field of steering systems, having already achieved a major expansion in Asia with the acquisition of the commercial vehicle steering division of Hitachi Automotive Systems in Japan in spring 2019.
The closing of the acquisition of Sheppard by Knorr-Bremse is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
“For Knorr-Bremse the acquisition of Sheppard is another important step in our strategy to become a global manufacturer of steering systems for commercial vehicles. With integrated steering and braking systems for commercial vehicles, we can realize globally expanded functions in driver assistance and automated driving together with our customers and leverage cost potential through system integration,” explains Dr. Peter Laier, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division.
Sheppard’s expertise brings optimal base for automated driving
Complete control over the transverse and longitudinal forces of a commercial vehicle is a necessary prerequisite for system solutions in driver assistance and automated driving solutions. The combination of Sheppard’s expertise in the field of recirculating ball steering systems (RCB) and Knorr-Bremse’s global system know-how form an optimal basis for the introduction of torque overlay steering systems (TOS) and functions of driver assistance and automated driving, particularly in the North American market.
The acquisition will be carried out by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Elyria, USA, an indirect subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse AG and part of the Commercial Vehicle Systems Division. In 2018, Sheppard generated sales of around USD 146 million and employed around 800 people.
Customized system solutions for North American trucks and buses
“Sheppard is an ideal addition to the product portfolio. As a leading commercial vehicle supplier in North America, Bendix will be even better able to respond to the requirements of North American customers in the different market segments. This is how tailor-made system solutions for North American trucks and buses become possible,” says Michael J. Hawthorne, Bendix president & CEO.
R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. was founded in 1937 and manufactures components for the global commercial vehicle and transportation industries. The company develops and manufactures steering systems for commercial vehicles and related products and services to the highest quality standards.