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Trimble acquires Transporean in major deal, for nearly $2 billion

Earlier this week, Westminster, Colo.-based Trimble, a provider of end-to-end technology solutions to for-hire motor carriers, private fleets, freight brokerage, and third-party logistics providers, announced it has agreed to acquire Ulm, Germany-based cloud-based transportation management software platform Transporean in an all-cash transaction.

The purchase price was around $1.99 billion (USD), and it is expected to be made official in the first half of 2023, with Trimble acquiring Transporean from software and services investor and Transporean’s majority shareholder, Hg.

Trimble officials said that Transporeon's open platform integrates with more than 3,000 global ERP and transportation management systems, to enable a dense network to facilitate more than 25 million on-platform transports in 2022.

Other key notable aspects of what Transporean provides Trimble with includes helping customers increase competitiveness, lower costs, reduce waste and solve complex freight problems through automation, real-time insights and network participation. And it added that Transporeon operates predominantly in Europe, and also in developed markets across the Americas and Asia. What’s more. Trimble added that Transporeon has recurring revenue representing more than 90% of total revenue, coupled with extremely low churn and net retention consistently in excess of 110%.

Trimble CEO Rob Painter said on a December 13 webcast that Trimble has kept its eyes on Transporean’s business for years.

“We are building a business for the long term, and assets like this don’t come along often. We’ve kept our balance sheet in a position to be able to act on opportunities like this, so when we got approached, we quickly engaged,” he said. “The headline message is that the acquisition of Transporeon accelerates and strengthens our Connect & Scale industry cloud strategy—both across Trimble and within our existing Transportation business. The strategic logic for this transaction sits on three pillars—platform, market and business model.”

Addressing these three pillars, Painter highlighted the following key drivers:

  • Transporeon has built a scaled and cloud-based transportation management platform that connects key stakeholders across the industry lifecycle to positively impact the optimization of global supply chains, which fits perfectly with what Trimble is doing in each of the key industries it serves;
  • Transporeon’s team has built its business into a growing and profitable leader in an attractive market with low penetration that continues to have digitization tailwinds, adding that the upfront investment for both carriers and shippers in adopting Transporeon is modest, and the customer ROI is compelling with a quick time to value, with this acquisition increases Trimble’s addressable market access by approximately $5.3 billion (USD); and
  • This deal is financially and strategically compelling to Trimble shareholders, with Trimble expecting around $202 million (USD), in 2023 revenue, which would represent approximately 25% annual revenue growth, in line with the company’s historical growth. And he added that more than 90% of this revenue is subscription or recurring transactional and the business has consistently delivered more than 110% net retention with its unique multi-sided monetization model.

Stephan Sieber, Transporeon CEO, said on the webcast that Transporean is an excellent partner for Trimble, as both companies believe in the value that the connection of the physical and digital worlds brings to improve the way our industry works for the benefit of its customers, society, and the planet.

In describing what Transporean brings to Trimble, Sieber noted that Transporeon is a global transportation management platform that solves freight problems where they occur, in between companies and trading partners, instead of being implemented to the sole benefit of one party.

“On our platform, we provide roughly 10 applications solving freight problems 360 degrees along the lifecycle of a freight transaction,” he said. “On this platform we connect shippers, brokers, forwarders, carriers and load recipients that we equally serve as customers. Our offering is modular, open and API-based, connecting, integrating and coordinating with nearly every ERP, WMS and TMS system at our customers. Instead of replacing software we first and foremost make sure that technology that is already in place collaborates and communicates better and allows our customers to benefit from rapid value. All our customers connect once to our platform and with this get access to one of the largest transportation networks world-wide. The modular nature of our offering has enabled our strong net retention of >110 percent consistently over time.”

Ben Gordon, Managing Partner of Cambridge Capital, an investor in niche supply chain leaders, and also Managing Partner of BGSA Holdings, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisory firm focused on the transportation, logistics, and supply chain technology sector, observed that Trimble is one of the most attractive companies in the logistics sector, noting that it has bought 97 companies in its 44-year history, with Transporeon representing the largest deal in Trimble’s history.
“This deal stands out for several reasons,” said Gordon. “First, it gives Trimble a much larger foundation in TMS. Trimble’s acquisitions in TMS have included TMW, 10-4, and Kuebix. Transporeon instantly gives them access to 145,000 carriers, 1,400 shippers, and integration with over 3,000 systems. Second, it represents the largest logistics technology acquisition of the year. Third, it showcases that despite the spike in interest rates, debt costs, and recessionary challenges, the deal environment in the supply chain world remains robust!”

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About the Author

Jeff Berman's avatar
Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review and is a contributor to Robotics 24/7. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis.
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