Jumbo merger in automotive components sector?

It appears Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen may be looking to acquire US-based automotive parts supplier TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. A statement issued by TRW Automotive yesterday confirms that it “received a preliminary, non-binding proposal to acquire the company,” however the statement didn’t go beyond saying it was evaluating the proposal. TRW Automotive did not give any details about the interested party; Bloomberg named ZF Friedrichshafen based upon information it says comes from people with knowledge of the matter.

TRW Automotive has 65,000 employees and last year achieved a turnover of US$17.4 billion. ZF Friedrichshafen employs almost 73,000 and had a turnover of $16.8 billion in 2013. ZF has been rumoured to be on the lookout for a major acquisition for a number of years now, and at one stage in the 1990s showed interest in taking over Continental. Should ZF and TRW join together, the resulting company will be a direct Continental competitor in important segments and would, behind Continental and Bosch, emerge as a third German heavyweight.

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