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Xevo connected car
(Xevo Photo)

Global automotive giant Lear today announced that it will acquire Seattle-area connected car startup Xevo for $320 million.

Xevo, originally founded in 2000 as UIEvolution, develops connected-car software with more than 25 million vehicles on the road today using its proprietary technology. It sells two products, Xevo Journeyware and Xevo Market, that allow drivers to interact with in-car content and connects them with popular food, fuel, parking, hotel, and retail brands via touchscreen and mobile apps. The company, which announced a partnership with Domino’s Pizza last month, employs around 160 people at its Bellevue, Wash. headquarters and another 140 across the globe.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

“Automakers have embraced the potential of Xevo’s e-commerce platform, as well as the deeply customizable driver experiences made possible by Xevo’s artificial intelligence technology,” Xevo CEO Dan Gittleman said in a statement. “Today, with Lear’s reach, we can scale Xevo’s innovative technology and business model to a global customer base.”

Lear, based in Southfield, Mich., specializes in automotive seating and electrical systems and employs nearly 170,000 people across 39 countries. It reported $21.1 billion in sales last year, up from $20.5 billion in 2017. The company’s stock reached record-highs in mid-2018 but has dropped 30 percent since then, trading at $141 per share on Tuesday.

“The acquisition of Xevo broadens Lear’s connectivity portfolio, bringing together Xevo’s leading e-commerce vehicle platform technology with Lear’s expertise in electronic systems,” said John Absmeier, Lear’s Chief Technology Officer. “Xevo’s user interface establishes a connected marketplace for consumers in their vehicles, unlocking previously unrealized value from vehicle data and opening up new revenue streams.”

Xevo was founded in 2000 by Satoshi Nakajima, who is known as the architect behind Microsoft products like Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 3. It rebranded in 2016 after the company acquired Seattle-based machine learning startup Surround.io Corp.

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