Global farm machinery giant CNH Industrial has snapped up Raven Industries, a US-based leader in precision agriculture and autonomous machinery, in a $A2.77 billion deal.
It's yet another sign that competition is hotting up among the world's major farm machinery brands in the race to develop more sophisticated precision ag technologies and robotic tractors.
CNH Industrial, which oversees the Case IH, New Holland Agriculture and Steyr brands - bought 100 per cent of Raven Industries for $US58 per share.
"Raven has been a pioneer in precision agriculture for decades and their deep product experience, customer-driven software expertise and engineering acumen offer a significant boost to our capabilities," chief executive officer for CNH Industrial Scott Wine said.
"This acquisition emphasises our commitment to enhance our precision farming portfolio and aligns with our digital transformation strategy."
Key competitors like John Deere are now being financially rewarded on their balance sheets for driving harder into developing and offering precision ag technologies.
"Precision agriculture and autonomy are critical components of our strategy to help our agricultural customers reach the next level of productivity and to unlock the true potential of their operations," Mr Wine said.
"The combination of Raven's technologies and CNH Industrial's strong current and new product portfolio will provide our customers with novel, connected technologies, allowing them to be more productive and efficient."
President and CEO of Raven Industries Dan Rykhus said the company's board and management were excited by the merger.
"For 65 years our company has been committed to solving great challenges. Part of that commitment includes delivering groundbreaking innovation by developing and investing in our core capabilities and technology," he said.
"By coming together with CNH Industrial we believe we will further accelerate that path as well as bring tremendous opportunities and value to our customers.
"Our relationship with CNH Industrial has expanded over decades and we have a deep respect for one another and a shared commitment to transform agriculture practices across the world.
"We are incredibly excited to collaborate in bringing our customers more integrated precision and autonomous solutions, not only to improve productivity and profitability, but also promote more sustainable solutions and environmental stewardship."
Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Raven Industries has three business divisions: applied technology (precision agriculture), engineered films (high-performance specialty films) and Aerostar (aerospace) with consolidated net sales of $US348.4 million for the 12 months ended January 31, 2021.
The company is a global technology partner for key strategic farm machinery manufacturers, agriculture retailers and dealers.