April 26, 2018 3:45 PM, EDT

LG Acquires ZKW in Its Largest Takeover; Focus Shifts to Lighting Self-Driving Cars

SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg News

South Korean electronics group LG aims to become the world leader in lighting self-driving cars, by taking over Austrian car lights specialist ZKW for an estimated $1.3 billion, LG announced April 26.

The 100% acquisition is the largest takeover in LG’s history.

The LG conglomerate already includes divisions that manufacture car parts such as navigation systems, electronic displays and headlamps.

ZKW, a family-owned high-tech company, supplies various car makers including Volkswagen, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls Royce and General Motors.

“The strategic merger is expected to result in synergies that allow the combined companies to lead the global lighting sector in autonomous vehicle components,” LG said in a statement.

Both companies plan to work together to develop intelligent lighting solutions in this emerging field, including sensors, cameras and communications systems.

For example, ZKW envisions technology on its website that would detect pedestrians by the side of the road. The car would stop automatically and project a zebra crossing onto the street.

ZKW also is thinking about lighting signals for safely managing groups of automated trucks that would drive in tight convoys.

The Austrian company employs more than 9,000 people in Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, India, Mexico and the United States.

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