SPAC pays $700m for Apollo's Hughes Telematics

Polaris Acquisition, led by former Apollo advisor Marc Byron, has acquired the dashboard navigation system maker for $700m, though Apollo will retain its majority stake in the company.

Blank cheque company Polaris Acquisition has agreed a $700 million (€453 million) all-stock acquisition with Apollo Management portfolio company Hughes Telematics.
 
Apollo currently owns a $90 million stake in Hughes, a developer of dashboard navigation systems for automobiles, and will retain its majority shareholder status if the deal is approved by Polaris shareholders later this year. The private equity firm has agreed to a two-year stock lock-up.
 
Atlanta-based Hughes is slated to receive $140 million from the transaction to fund the company’s growth opportunities, according to a statement.
 
Under Apollo’s ownership, Hughes has secured long-term contracts with automakers Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz USA, both of whom are expected to implement Hughes dashboard systems in their cars in the second half of 2009 with the system standard in nearly all US production by 2012.
 
While primarily focussing on navigation systems, Hughes has also developed displays and voice recognition systems through which drivers can control audio players, check email and connect with local food and entertainment options.
 
Polaris, which debuted on the American Stock Exchange in January, raising $150 million, is chaired by Marc Byron, co-founder of middle market merchant bank and investment firm Trivergance and a former advisor to Apollo on large marketing and media related transactions. Byron also worked as a consultant and partner to Halyard Capital before launching Trivergance in 2006.