Inrix wants to buy U.K. traffic-data leader ITIS
After receiving $37 million in venture capital Monday, real-time traffic-information company Inrix is offering to buy U. K.-based ITIS Holdings for $60...
Seattle Times business reporter
After receiving $37 million in venture capital Monday, real-time traffic-information company Inrix is offering to buy U.K.-based ITIS Holdings for $60 million.
ITIS, which provides traffic and travel information through cellular data, has an 80 percent market share in the United Kingdom, with six offices there.
Bryan Mistele, chief executive of Kirkland-based Inrix, called ITIS its biggest European competitor and said merging the companies would expand Inrix's global footprint to eight more countries, including Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore and Russia.
"ITIS is very much the Inrix of Europe," he said. "Combined, we'd be in a strong position to complete deals that are increasingly becoming more global."
Inrix, which spun out of Microsoft's advanced-research group in 2005, generates traffic information from GPS devices that indicate speed and location. Its data is fed to services in 22 countries with more than 100 million users per day.
The proposed acquisition would allow the company to reach an additional 50 million users, Mistele said.
It would also add $27 million in revenue while also adding Nissan, Telefonica, Mercedes and Vodafone to the company's list of customers.
Roger Lanctot, senior analyst for the global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, said the acquisition would open up the delivery of traffic information from all portable devices — cellphones, embedded systems in cars, etc. — rather than just GPS-enabled devices.
In a few years, Inrix could receive information on the speed, location and traffic flow from all kinds of cars, he added.
"It's kind of a brave new world — a whole frontier of traffic they'd be positioned to provide capability to," Lanctot said.
Before the acquisition is final, shareholders of the publicly traded ITIS will have 21 days to vote on the deal. According to INRIX's Mistele, the company has already received a commitment from 80 percent of shareholders.
ITIS could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Mistele said he expects to close the deal as of mid-August.
Mistele said Inrix has been profitable for more than a year, with sales growing 85 percent annually over the past three years. He said the company is focusing on expanding in Europe and Asia, and is opening its first office in China.
The company has about 100 employees but expects to hire more over the next year. ITIS has 150 employees.
Christine Harvey: 206-464-3263 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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