Magna International and Qualcomm Inc. tussled over the privilege of buying supplier Veoneer last month. Now, through a unique transaction structure, Qualcomm will walk away with the specific part of Veoneer that it wanted, while letting a private investment firm do the heavy lifting of buying Veoneer and figuring out what to do with the part Qualcomm doesn't want.
And it has left open the door to the possibility that Magna could, if it chooses, end up buying a leftover piece of Veoneer.
A spokeswoman for Magna declined to comment.
It's not a typical auto industry acquisition.
Qualcomm, a telecommunications and microchip producer with a burgeoning automotive business, this week won in its bid to acquire Veoneer's advanced-driving software unit, Arriver, as part of a $4.5 billion deal, beating out an offer from supplier giant Magna International Inc.
But Qualcomm won't ever own Veoneer as a whole.
Qualcomm teamed up with New York investment firm SSW Partners, which will acquire Veoneer outright, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. Upon the deal's closure, SSW will sell the Arriver unit to Qualcomm. The investment firm will then hold onto the remainder of Veoneer's business with an eye toward finding long-term owners for it.
"It's an unusual way to do it," said Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. "Most companies, when they decide to sell out, try to find a buyer for the whole thing."