SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Trimble announced it has signed an agreement to acquire privately-held Müller-Elektronik, a German company specializing in implement control and precision farming solutions. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and clearance or expiration of the waiting period under the German Act Against Restraints of Competition. Financial terms were not disclosed.
With more than 375 employees, Müller is a pioneer in precision farming, known for developing, producing and selling Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and embedded software that provides vehicle and implement control for tractors, combine harvesters, field sprayers, drill machines, seeders, spreaders and slurry tankers to improve the management of inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides. Müller was a key contributor in the development of the ISOBUS communication protocol, which allows one terminal to control several implements and machines, regardless of manufacturer.
ISOBUS standardizes the control settings, reduces downtime and minimizes installation and interface challenges, simplifying data exchange and machine control. The implement control solutions developed by Müller have now become widely adopted by leading agriculture OEMs and aftermarket channels.
Combining the technology and strengths of Trimble and Müller will enable the development of new and exciting solutions for farmers worldwide, who often struggle to integrate and use disparate hardware and software products across various brands of agricultural equipment. The addition of Müller-Elektronik will enable the creation of an ecosystem where farmers, advisors and retailers can easily build field prescriptions and transfer that prescription to the implement, enabling farmers to more easily adopt precision agriculture solutions.
"Our planned acquisition of Müller-Elektronik recognizes the growing importance of the implement in variable rate application solutions as well as the importance of an integrated platform that is agnostic to equipment brand," said Darryl Matthews, Trimble senior vice president. "Müller's ISOBUS solutions are already compatible with a significant range of equipment manufacturers. This capability, together with existing Trimble competencies, will enable us to expand our role in the growing market for variable-rate applications. We plan to continue to fully support existing Müller customers and partners."
"Trimble is a leading provider of precision agriculture hardware and farm management software. Bringing Trimble together with Müller's leading ISOBUS solutions will create an industry-changing opportunity to deliver a system-wide integration that is uniquely available through the combination of the companies," said Christian Müller, managing director for Müller-Elektronik. "Our systems, combined with farm management software, will enable OEMs to provide integrated plug-and-play solutions straight from the factory, while also helping the growing aftermarket channel looking to support its customers with mixed fleet operations with an ISOBUS solution."
The acquisition of Müller-Elektronik will include the company's other operations, WTK Elektronik, a German-based company, ME-France, ME Sudamerica, an Argentina-based company, and Mueller Electronics Inc., a North American-based company. The Müller-Elektronik businesses will be reported as part of Trimble's Resources and Utilities Segment.