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Lear Corporation is an American company that manufactures automotive seating and automotive electrical systems. In 2018, it ranked #147 on the Fortune 500 list.
Lear headquarters building
|American Metal Products|
|Founded||Detroit, Michigan (1917)|
Number of locations
|257 locations in 39 countries (2017)|
(President, CEO, and Director)
(Executive Vice President, Business Development and General Counsel)
|Services||Supplier of automotive seating and electrical|
|Revenue||US$20.467 billion (2017)|
|US$1.608 billion (2017)|
|US$1.313 billion (2017)|
|Total assets||US$11.946 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$4.293 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Divisions||Seating and Electrical|
Lear Corporation was launched as American Metal Products in 1917 in Detroit, Michigan. At the time of its founding it was engaged in the manufacture of tubular, welded and stamped assemblies for the aircraft and automobile industries.
Lear grew during the 1980s and 1990s through a series of acquisitions. The company sought to become a supplier of complete interior automotive systems, that is, a supplier of seating, electrical, flooring, interior trim, instrument panels, etc., to original equipment manufacturing (OEM) auto companies.
On March 16, 1999, Lear announced it would acquire United Technologies Automotive, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation that produced dashboards, electrical distribution systems, motors and air-flow parts, interior door panels and switches, for $2.3 billion. Lear announced on May 4, 1999, that it had completed the acquisition.
On April 5, 2004, Lear announced it would pay $220 million for Wuppertal, Germany-based Grote & Hartmann, a maker of electrical components. On July 6, 2004, Lear announced it had completed the transaction.
As of late 2005, most OEM auto companies had indicated that they no longer wanted to purchase total interiors from any one company. As this was Lear's primary purpose in assembling those three divisions, and the Interior Systems Division was not profitable, the company began seeking to get rid of this division.[needs update]
In early 2007, Lear Corporation completed the transfer of substantially all of its former North American Interior Systems Division to International Automotive Components Group (IAC), a joint venture of Lear, WL Ross & Co., and Franklin Mutual Advisers. The deal involved 26 manufacturing plants and two Chinese joint ventures. Lear also contributed $27 million in cash for a 25 percent interest in IAC and warrants for an additional 7 percent.
Also in 2007, Lear's board of directors agreed to a $2.3 billion takeover offer from American Real Estate Partners, an affiliate of financier Carl Icahn, subject to shareholder approval. Lear has said it will continue to talk to other interested parties, however, Icahn would receive a $100 million fee should another offer be accepted. The deal was later voted down by shareholders.
On July 2, 2009 Bloomberg News reported that Lear Corp. planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after reaching an agreement with representatives of secured lenders and bondholders. On November 9, 2009, Lear announced it had emerged from bankruptcy.
On August 10, 2011, Lear announced that senior vice president and chief financial officer Matt Simoncini had been elected chief executive officer and president, effective September 1, 2011.
In 2012, Automotive News awarded Lear a Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence (PACE) Award for innovation, technological advancement and business performance for its Solid State Smart Junction Box (S3JB), noting Lear's "S3JB junction box has 1) integrated solid state fuse technology to eliminate relays, 2) created a new package that no longer has to be accessible from the driver compartment which decreases nuisance calls and lowers electrical device warranty returns, 3) created and installed a smart software logic with detailed diagnostics to permit a 'fail safe operation,' and 4) designed a single state board design with patented thermal aspects that permits multiple system and device connections and various configurations to ease manufacturing processes."
Lear acquired automotive and specialty fabrics company Guilford Mills for $257 million in May 2012. In addition to automotive fabric applications, Guilford produces fabrics for markets including water filtration, window covering, performance apparel, medical and other industrial applications.
In August 2014, it was announced that Lear Corp would acquire automotive leather supplier Eagle Ottawa LLC for a fee of $850 million.
In August 2015 the company acquired the intellectual property and engineering team of Autonet Mobile. Autonet Mobile was a developer of connected car solutions using cellular, WiFi, bluetooth and cloud connected solutions.
In November 2015 the company acquired Arada Systems. Arada Systems was a technology company specializing in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2V and V2I, together V2X) communication systems. They developed hardware and software solutions for V2X utilizing their expertise in 5.9 GHz dedicated short range communication (DSRC) and other wired and wireless technologies such as CAN and GPS.
In February 2017 it was announced that Lear Corp signed a definitive agreement to acquire Grupo Antolin's automotive seating business. The transaction was valued at €286 million on a cash and debt free basis. Lear Corp funded the transaction with cash on hand.
- "Lear Corporation 2017 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". sec.gov. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. January 2018.
- "Lear (Fortune 500 List)". Fortune. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- "The History of Lear Corporation". Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- "Lear To Buy Parts Unit Of United Technologies". New York Times. March 17, 1999. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Lear Corporation Acquires United Technologies Automotive" (Press release). Lear Corporation. May 4, 1999. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- Gelsi, Steve (April 5, 2004). "Lear buying buying Grote & Hartmann for $220 mln". MarketWatch. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Lear Corp. Completes Acquisition of Grote & Hartmann" (Press release). Lear Corporation. July 6, 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Lear Completes North American Interior Business Joint Venture with WL Ross and Franklin Mutual" (Press release). Lear Corporation. April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2007.
- "Lear Corporation Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Car parts maker Lear emerges from bankruptcy". Reuters. November 9, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Lear CEO Rossiter steps down; finance chief Simoncini tapped as successor". Autonews.com. August 10, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Automotive News PACE Awards". Autonews.com. 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- Yahoo Finance
- "Lear Corp to buy leather supplier Eagle Ottawa for $850 million" (Press release). Reuters. August 28, 2014.
- "Lear Corp. (LEA) to Open Automotive Plant in Macedonia" (Press release). Nasdaq. May 19, 2015.
- "Lear Acquires Intellectual Property from Autonet Mobile, a Leading Developer of Communication Software and Devices for Automotive Applications". PR Newswire (Press release). August 17, 2015.
- "Lear Acquires Arada Systems, a Leading Automotive Technology Company that Specializes in Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communications". PR Newswire (Press release). November 30, 2015.
- "Lear Corp. (LEA) To Acquire Gruo Antolin's Automotive Seating Business, Deal For €286 Million In Cash". StreetInsider.com. Retrieved February 6, 2017.