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Tuesday Ticker: October 12, 2021

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— This week, Magna may have an opportunity to pick up Qualcomm’s leftovers from the Veoneer acquisition; an Ontario-based battery maker lands a unique deal to break ground in Quebec; while Tesla CEO Elon Musk announces a new home for the EV brand.

More opportunities for Magna

Magna International may have missed out on its previously proposed acquisition of Veoneer following Qualcomm’s superior offer, but the Aurora, Ontario-based auto parts maker still has a chance at acquiring some of Veoneer’s assets.

Qualcomm will walk away from the Veoneer deal acquiring certain departments of the latter company but, according to reports from Automotive News Canada, Qualcomm won’t ever own Veoneer as a whole.

Qualcomm teamed up with NYC investment firm SSW Partners, which will acquire Veoneer outright, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. After the deal closes, SSW will sell the Arriver unit⁠—Veoneer’s dedicated software unit for the development of the complete perception and drive policy software stack⁠—while the investment firm will hold onto the remainder of Veoneer’s business and focus on finding long term buyers.  

According to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, the company is the “natural owner” for Arriver. He said Qualcomm will integrate Arriver software into its Snapdragon Ride advanced driver assistance system. 

A spokesperson for Magna declined to comment on the company’s interest in what’s left up for sale from Veoneer.

Batteries in our backyards

An Ontario-based battery producer plans to build a cell production site in Quebec. 

The project⁠—estimated to be worth $200 million to $300 million⁠—was announced late last week by StromVolt Americas. 

Maxime Vidricaire, CEO of StromVolt, said the plant is the “missing link” in Canada’s electric vehicle supply chain. He said the plant will help North American automakers reduce reliance on Asian automotive battery manufacturers.

The company plans to start producing cells as early as 2023 and has an aggressive timeline for plant construction.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though StromVolt said it would retain full ownership of the production site⁠—an arrangement unique to North American battery cell production. 

Bigger in Texas

Tesla will move its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, company CEO Elon Musk announced at Tesla’s shareholder’s meeting last Thursday.

The meeting took place on-site just outside of Austin, Texas, where the automaker is building a vehicle assembly plant. Musk provided little detail as to why the decision was made.

Regardless of the move, Tesla plans to increase production at its California plant, located in Fremont. 

“To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California,” confirmed Musk. “Our intention is to increase output from Fremont (California) and Giga Nevada by 50 percent.”

He did note that there is a “limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,” referring to the automaker’s backups at the Fremont plant near San Francisco. 

In April 2020, on a Tesla earnings call, Musk lashed out at California government officials calling their temporary Covid-related health orders “fascist” in an expletive-laced rant. Musk also personally relocated to Austin, Texas in 2020 from Los Angeles, where he had lived for twenty years. Doing so enabled Musk, who is also CEO of aerospace company SpaceX, to reduce his personal tax burden and be closer to a SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.

 

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