A team of lawyers from four Fenwick & West offices drove Delphi Automotive PLC’s $450 million acquisition of driverless car startup nuTonomy Inc.
The deal, announced this week, advances traditional parts supplier Delphi’s push into the autonomous vehicle-development race, which has spawned almost weekly announcements that herald deals among conventional car manufacturers and suppliers, ride-hailing companies and startups.
U.K.-headquartered Delphi announced in May it would spin off its conventional powertrain operations, leaving the remaining entity to focus on developing connected-car technology. Delphi acquired Carnegie Mellon University spinoff Ottomatika Inc., an autonomous vehicle systems developer, in 2015.
Fenwick lawyers wouldn’t talk about their role in advising on the deal. The firm dedicated lawyers with specialties including transactions, executive compensation, intellectual property, antitrust and employee benefits.
Delphi president and CEO Kevin Clark called the deal an “example of our ongoing dedication to developing, implementing and commercializing the highest performing and safest [autonomous driving] system available.”
Fenwick also advised General Motors Co. on its reported $1 billion acquisition of autonomous vehicle startup Cruise Automation Inc. The Delphi acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
NuTonomy, represented by Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian in the acquisition deal, did not return a message seeking comment. The firm focuses on emerging technology.
Boston-based nuTonomy began road-testing its autonomous vehicles in Massachusetts earlier this year and recently announced plans to launch a self-driving on-demand program in Singapore. NuTonomy also unveiled a research and development partnership with Lyft Inc. in June, an arrangement that will continue with Delphi’s acquisition, according to media reports.
Delphi is one of 43 companies that have permits to test self-driving cars on California roads. Once its acquisition of nuTonomy is complete, Delphi will have autonomous driving operations in Boston, Pittsburgh, Singapore, Santa Monica and Silicon Valley.
The deal with nuTonomy is the latest merger or acquisition for Delphi. The company has announced partnerships with BlackBerry Ltd., Transdev, LeddarTech and Innoviz Technologies Inc. in the last four months.