January 23, 2020 / 8:47 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-ZF wins U.S. approval to buy Wabco on condition of asset divestiture

(Adds comment from ZF North America)

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - German auto parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG won U.S. antitrust approval for its $7 billion deal to buy U.S. rival Wabco, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

To win approval, the government required the companies to sell Wabco's steering components business, R.H. Sheppard Co Inc, since ZF and Wabco are the only North American suppliers of steering gears for large commercial vehicles. Wabco had acquired Sheppard in 2017.

The deal also won approval from the European Union on Thursday.

The proposed transaction is expected to close early this year, said Tony Sapienza, head of North American communications for ZF, in an email statement.

The merger, announced in March, is aimed at helping ZF bolster its expertise in autonomous-driving technologies.

ZF and Wabco already jointly develop a so-called Evasive Manoeuvre Assist system, which combines Wabco's braking, stability and vehicle dynamics control systems for trucks with ZF's active steering technology. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tom Brown)

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