Global media, information and services company Hearst announced Tuesday it will be acquiring a majority stake in Noregon Systems Inc. to continue growing the connected vehicle solutions company’s portfolio of customers, including fleets, logistics providers and manufacturers, which find themselves investing in solutions to optimize vehicle uptime.
“Noregon’s products are a critical component in their customers’ workflow and we are very interested in these businesses that help solve problems for customers and, particularly in the transportation space, drive efficiencies,” Tom Cross, executive vice president of Hearst Transportation, told FreightWaves.
Hearst plans to acquire a 80% stake in the company, while the founder and CEO of Noregon Systems, Bill Hathaway, will retain a 20% ownership stake and continue to serve as the company’s chief executive. Further terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Hathaway, who started the company in 1993, described his excitement to partner with Hearst, particularly during the transportation industry’s current “technology renaissance.”
“Noregon has a lot of different opportunities available to us and we could take the company 100 different ways right now. What direction to take is something we feel like the Hearst management team can help us with,” said Hathaway.
“We have some key technology areas that we want to fill out quicker than we would if we did it organically. M&A is something that we’re very interested in becoming active in. Partnering with Hearst is going to allow us the capital and vetting resources to get those deals done,” he said.
For Hearst, it plans to use Noregon’s expertise in optimizing fleets for more than 15,000 customers in North America to increase the efficiencies of the companies under its transportation wing as well.
“Hearst has a number of companies in the transportation space. We own a company called Camp, which is a business that monitors jet maintenance and takes data streams from jet engines. They are focusing on uptime there as well and I think there are things we can work on with Noregon and Camp, including sharing best practices,” said Cross.
“We also have Black Book and MOTOR Information Systems, so there are a lot of similarities that are fitting for diagnostics and vehicle uptime, giving Noregon the ability to really bridge all those gaps of software capabilities to help a fleet with any kind of vehicle that they need.”
While acquiring Noregon and its 16 million diagnostics connections will undoubtedly improve the transportation companies under Hearst’s wing, both leaders explained that the culture at both companies would create the perfect team for long-term growth.
“Bill’s reputation as a technology leader in transportation is impeccable,” said Cross. “Culturally, we are very much the same and we are very excited to offer better efficiency to the trucking industry in the future.”
Hathaway added, “Hearst is a family business and so is Noregon. The knowledge and experience that Hearst brings to the table is really going to help us make better decisions and find new opportunities for growth in the future.”