BMW Group and Daimler Mobility have agreed to sell their joint venture Park Now. The EasyPark Group will acquire the parking division of the carmakers’ Your Now mobility business. The deal remains subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities, with the companies remaining tight-lipped on the terms of the transaction.
Operating in over 1,100 cities across 11 countries, Park Now gives drivers a means to pay for parking via a mobile app. The acquisition will allow EasyPark to bolster its own digital offerings, which currently span 2,200 cities over 20 countries. Meanwhile, BMW and Daimler can take the opportunity to increase focus on their automotive offerings.
‘With Park Now, we have built up a significant player in the digital-services market. Park Now and EasyPark are a perfect match that will provide attractive offers for customers worldwide,’ said Stephan Unger, member of the board of management of Daimler for finance, controlling, risk management and digital-mobility solutions.
Propelling Park Now
Park Now operates under the RingGo, Park-line and Parkmobile brands, allowing customers to reserve, book and pay for parking spaces online via a mobile app. As one of the YourNow pillars, it operates alongside Share Now (car-sharing), Charge Now (electric-vehicle charging), as well as Free Now and Reach Now (ride-hailing and trip planning).
‘We welcome EasyPark’s acquisition of our joint parking services business,’ said Rainer Feurer, vice president of corporate investments at BMW. ‘This is a substantial step in the ongoing evolution of these digital services and will create a sustainable momentum to the benefit of customers and further innovation.’
As carmakers face an electrified, post-COVID world, the need to focus on automotive output has become essential. An example of this is Daimler’s recent decision to spin off its trucks business and rename itself Mercedes-Benz. The separation will allow each unit to focus on new technologies impacting their respective sectors. Meanwhile, last November, BMW committed to its electrification efforts, with a €400 million investment in new-vehicle-assembly capabilities at its Munich plant.
Increasing market spaces
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, acquiring Park Now will give EasyPark a tighter grip on the market. Adding BMW and Daimler’s joint venture to its list of offerings, the parking company will be expand its digital-mobility market position in Europe and the United States. The company aims to fund additional growth to provide more integrated services in the future.
‘We are pleased to welcome Park Now, its customers and the whole team to the EasyPark Group,’ said Johan Birgersson, CEO of EasyPark. ‘This enables us to add value and simplify mobility in day-to-day life for more cities, parking operators and our joint users. The acquisition is strategically important in order to accelerate our long-term growth innovative capabilities.’
COVID-19 put normal travel trends on hold over the last 12 months. As commuting was cut off, the need for city-parking spaces fell by the wayside as cars were left parked in driveways. While this might cause carmakers like Daimler and BMW to reconsider their related assets, it can also be a golden opportunity for parking-dedicated businesses.
Recognising that OEMs might want to lighten the load by selling off unnecessary expenses during a difficult economic period, EasyPark could stand to expand exponentially in anticipation of the easing of lockdowns and a return to ‘business-as-usual.’ However, this is dependent upon businesses reverting back to operating as they have previously. If enough businesses take the pandemic as an opportunity to switch to remote working, transitioning away from cities, the value of these parking spaces may drop.