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As part of its growing automotive business, Vodafone is supplying SIM cards for VW Group cars (Photo: Vodafone

Vodafone plans to offer 145 million euros to buy all of Cobra Automotive, as the global telecommunications group bids to grow its business in the automotive industry.

Italy-based Cobra sells security and telematics products to the automotive and insurance industries. It has operations in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan and several other major markets.

Vodafone said the planned offer is in line with its strategy to expand machine-to-machine capability beyond connectivity. "The combination of Vodafone and Cobra will create a new global provider of connected car services," said Erik Brenneis, director of M2M at Vodafone. "We plan to invest in the business to offer our automotive and insurance customers a full range of telematics services.”

Telecommunications groups are exploiting new business opportunities in the automotive industry as cars become connected to the internet and to each other. Vodafone announced in March that it would be supplying the Volkswagen Group with SIM cards specifically designed for automotive use. Many of today's cars have embedded SIM cards to facilitate communications at all times.

The acquisition of Cobra is subject to approval by anti-trust authorities, Vodafone said. The company said it has already reached agreement with shareholders representing almost 74 percent of Cobra. Minority shareholders representing 20 percent of Cobra's capital have also agreed to a sale, Vodafone said.