In March 2015, the European Commission (“EC”) conditionally approved the $12.4 billion transaction by which global automotive component manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen (“ZF”) would acquire competitor TRW Automotive Holdings (“TRW”). The deal would create the second-largest auto supplier globally, with ZF concentrating on powertrain and chassis technology and TRW mainly active in the production of safety systems.
To address antitrust issues, ZF had previously sold its steering unit to competitor Robert Bosch GmbH in September 2014. The EC also requested the divestment of TRW’s chassis components business in the European Economic Area, as ZF and TRW are the two largest suppliers of chassis components for car and truck manufacturers in the EEA and close competitors. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which approved the transaction in August 2015, similarly required the divestment of the chassis business (linkage and suspension business) in North America.
Compass Lexecon provided economic support to ZF in relation to the acquisition and assisted in the merger filings to the European Commission. The Compass Lexecon team included Lorenzo Coppi, Urs Haegler, and Daniel Westrik.