Technology solutions provider Trimble Inc. has announced it will acquire German logistics company Transporeon, which uses a cloud-based TMS to connect carriers, logistics service providers and shippers.

The all-cash deal unveiled Monday is valued at $1.98 billion and expected to close in the first half of 2023.

Rob Painter, Trimble’s president and CEO, said digital software solutions are in high demand in the commercial transportation market and the acquisition of Transporeon represented a great opportunity.

“We’ve kept our eyes on this business for years,” Painter said during a call to discuss the deal with analysts and investors on Tuesday. “We are building a business for the long term and assets like this don’t come along often. We kept our balance sheet in a position to be able to act on opportunities like this. So when we got approached, we quickly engaged.”

Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) is a Sunnyvale, California-based supply chain technology provider for trucking companies, freight brokerages and 3PLs. Its transportation division provides services such as enterprise, mobility, final-mile, mapping and maintenance solutions.

Trimble is acquiring Transporeon from Hg, a private equity firm based in London.

Transporeon, founded in 2000, is based in Ulm, Germany. The company has about 1,000 employees and provides cloud-based solutions that enable end-to-end transport logistics management software solutions for shippers, suppliers, retailers, goods recipients and carriers.

Transporeon generates around $130 million in sales annually, with core earnings around $37 million. The company has predominantly been operating in Europe, but officials said they anticipate the company’s cloud-based solutions to adapt to North America. 

“Our current business is predominantly in Europe, but our platform works globally,” Transporeon CEO Stephan Sieber said during the same call. “Now to the North American market specifically, it’s highly fragmented. There is no direct like-for-like competition, at least not at that scale. What is missing for Transporeon as a stand-alone entity is a large carrier network in the United States. This is something that really differentiates us in Europe and gives us this competitive advantage when we approach new prospects and customers. I think this is one of the big opportunities that joining Trimble holds.”

The Transporeon business will be reported as part of Trimble’s transportation segment.

Caroline Lyle, founder and CEO of Driven-Brands.com, a blog for supply chain technology marketing professionals, said Trimble’s acquisition of Transporeon allows them to enter the international TMS market immediately.

“[Trimble is] purchasing one of the biggest [TMS providers] over there, it’s easier than developing one from ground up in multiple languages and to accommodate the many different ways these international transportation markets work (radically different than ours),” Lyle told FreightWaves. “Basically, this is an extension into new markets with a TMS product — a strategy they have talked about for many years.”  

Lyle, who has worked in the logistics and commercial transportation market for over a decade, said Trimble tried to move into the international TMS market back in 2012 without much success, when the company acquired TMW Systems Inc.

“[Trimble] tried to do this with the existing TMW platform in South Africa/Australia, since they were English-speaking [countries] but did not understand the nuances of how these transportation markets worked,” she said. “It wasn’t very successful, but the plan was to go international.”

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