December 2, 2013 3:30 AM, EST

Omnitracs Announces Deal to Buy Roadnet as Vista Closes Its Purchase From Qualcomm

By Seth Clevenger, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 2 print edition of Transport Topics.

Vista Equity Partners announced last week that it has completed its $800 million acquisition of the Omnitracs Inc. truck technology business, which also announced plans for an acquisition of its own.

Omnitracs said it has agreed to buy Roadnet Technologies Inc., which provides fleet-management software.

Vista closed the deal for Omnitracs, formerly a unit of Qualcomm Inc., on Nov. 25 — three months after it was initially announced.

Meanwhile, Omnitracs said it expects its acquisition of Roadnet to close in December. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We look forward to partnering Omnitracs and Roadnet to form a fleet and mobile-resource management platform that will deliver a broad array of best-of-breed solutions for their respective market segments, while collaborating on a set of key growth initiatives,” Vista CEO Robert Smith said.

Vista owns software and technology companies serving a variety of industries. It has offices in Chicago, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

The acquisition of Roadnet could help Omnitracs expand its reach to new sectors of the transportation industry, said Clem Driscoll, founder and president of consulting and research firm C.J. Driscoll and Associates.

“I think it’s potentially a good thing for Omnitracs because Roadnet’s primary business is the private fleet market, while Omnitracs’ primary market is truckload carriers,” he said. “It diversifies them somewhat.”

If the deal is approved by federal antitrust regulators, Baltimore-based Roadnet will operate as a separate division, Omnitracs said.

John Graham, who was previously a division president at software firm Intergraph Corp., has been appointed CEO of Omnitracs.

“I am thrilled to be joining the combined Omnitracs and Roadnet,” Graham said. “The history of innovation and industry leadership, as well as the opportunity that lies ahead, is truly exciting, and I look forward to engaging with the employees of both companies to expand that leadership and go capture that opportunity.”

Combined, Omnitracs and Roadnet will serve nearly 3,800 customers with more than 500,000 vehicles in more than 60 countries, Omnitracs said.

“Omnitracs was one of Qualcomm’s earliest businesses and has been a leader in fleet management and telematics for more than 25 years,” Derek Aberle, executive vice president at Qualcomm, said in a separate announcement. “We’d like to thank all of the employees, suppliers and customers for helping make Omnitracs a success.”

The sale of Omnitracs includes all of its businesses in the United States, Canada and Latin America, marking Qualcomm’s departure from the North American commercial vehicle telematics industry, which Qualcomm helped build in the late 1980s with its original Omnitracs system. The European operations were not a part of the sale.

Jack Kennedy, who had been president of Omnitracs since January, will remain with Qualcomm, the company said. Kennedy, who helped drive the Omnitracs sale process, will continue to evaluate Qualcomm’s strategy for the remaining European business, Qualcomm said.

Omnitracs did not respond to a request for additional comment before Transport Topics’ deadline.

Roadnet is a provider of route-planning and fleet-management software, and its customers are primarily private carriers. The company has 163 full-time employees.

“Roadnet is excited to become part of the Omnitracs and Vista family,” Roadnet CEO Len Kennedy said. “Our solutions are very complementary, and together we can enable our customers to achieve even greater levels of leadership in fleet management, safety, compliance and efficiency.”

The company declined further comment.

Roadnet was founded in 1983 as Roadnet Systems Corp. It became UPS Logistics Technologies following its acquisition by UPS Inc. in 1986. UPS sold the business to private equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2010, and the company began doing business as Roadnet Technologies.

The Roadnet acquisition “may also be a little bit of a response” to Trimble Navigation Ltd.’s “aggressive focus on the transportation and logistics sector,” Driscoll added. “This is Vista’s way of saying we’re also aggressively in this market.”

Since 2011, Trimble has purchased onboard computing provider Peoplenet, transportation management software company TMW Systems and routing and navigation software provider ALK Technologies.