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Zonar CEO Brett Brinton. Photo via Zonar.
Zonar CEO Brett Brinton. Photo via Zonar.

German automotive giant Continental announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Zonar Systems, a Seattle-area company that provides electronic fleet inspection and tracking systems for public and private fleets.

Continental, a publicly-traded company that manufactures a bevy of auto-related products, will own a 81 percent stake in Zonar. Daimler Trucks North America, which previously invested in Zonar and partners with the company, will retain its existing 19 percent stake.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal still needs to be approved by the FTC and U.S. Department of Justice.

Founded in 2001, Zonar provides GPS and telematics hardware and software solutions for fleets across a variety of industries like construction, transportation, utility, and more. The idea is to use hardware and software to help fleet operators save money on fuel, improve maintenance, and increase safety.

Zonar's Connect tablet is used by "smart fleets."
Zonar’s Connect tablet is used by “smart fleets.”

The 330-person company, based in south Seattle with a year-old engineering office downtown, will now partner with Continental “to become a major supplier in the sector,” according to a press release. Continental, which posted $39.2 billion in sales last year and employs 215,000 people worldwide, will expand its U.S. operations as a result of the deal, the company said.

“It is exciting to move into a new chapter in Zonar history with the backing of a respected global brand that recognizes our need to serve our markets as a nimble, innovative, customer-focused company as we have for the past 15 years,” Zonar President Ian McKerlich said in a statement. “Customers will receive the same productive partnership and innovation they have come to expect with Zonar, as well as expanded technological resources and capabilities from Continental.”

Zonar is led by McKerlich and co-founder Brett Brinton, who is CEO and previously led Seattle bridge coatings startup Wasser Inc. Brinton started Zonar with his brother, Bill, along with Eric Manegold, Dan Mayer, and Mike McQuade. Zonar was ranked No. 27 on the GeekWire 200 startup list before the deal. The company raised $50 million this past July.

Zonar will keep both of the Seattle-area offices and its employees will continuing working there. The company will continue to operate as Zonar.

One of Zonar’s competitors, Fleetmatics, was acquired by Verizon in August for $2.4 billion.

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