Bosch eyes U.S. ride-sharing market with purchase of carpool start-up Splitting Fares

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Robert Bosch GmbH is joining the likes of Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and Via Transportation Inc. in its quest to join the popular ride-sharing service industry. The German-based technology company has acquired U.S. carpooling start-up Splitting Fares Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2014, Splitting Fares is a technology designer and developer of a social ride-sharing app that identifies and connects people with similar travel routes. The Detroit-based target received early investments from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) and venture capital firm Fontinalis Partners LLC, which is owned by Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) executive chairman Bill Ford.

The target’s mobility services app strategically connects with businesses, universities and municipal entities to offer their communities and workforces ride-sharing capabilities. As part of the deal, Splitting Fares will become a part of Bosch’s newly created division called Connected Mobility Solutions, as the buyer seeks to expand its reach in the ride services and connected vehicles markets.

“Increasingly, smartphones are becoming the most important means of travel,” says Markus Heyn, a member of the Bosch board of management. The company signals that “connecting road users and modes of transportation is making flexible, multimodal mobility possible in a matter of seconds,” while everyone can decide how they want to travel.

Bosch is a global provider of tech services and technology through its many subsidiary segments, including: mobility, industrial technology, consumer goods, and energy and building technology. The buyer manufactures a variety of products includes diesel systems, electrical drives, and automotive electronics.

Bosch’s push into ride-sharing and related-services creates a compelling business relationship for some of the buyer’s auto parts customers such as Uber and Didi, which are also working on self-driving cars. The German-based buyer recently announced that it would start testing self-driving cars that it has begun developing with Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler AG.

Tech deals have been a driving and consistent source for M&A over recent years , especially as the demand for mobile technology has shifted how millennials and baby boomers live their lives. Related deals involving mobile technology include: Qualcomm Inc.’s (Nasdaq: QCOM) $47 billion agreement to purchase NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI) to expand beyond the smartphone market; Twitter’s (NYSE: TWTR) acquiring Magic Pony Technology to improve video and image quality in tweets; and AT&T Inc.’s (NYSE: T) purchase of video content company Quickplay Media Inc. from Madison Dearborn Partners for the company’s Internet video streaming service.

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