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Brembo eyes startup deals as software takes bigger role in brakes

MILAN — Brembo could look at buying tech startups to boost the software content of its premium brakes, CEO Daniele Schillaci said.

The company, whose customers include Ferrari, Tesla, and several Formula One teams, has in the last year agreed to buy SBS Friction, a Danish maker of brake pads for motorbikes, and Spanish motorcycle brake maker J.Juan.

Schillaci, an auto industry veteran with previous stints at Nissan and Toyota, said Brembo was not looking at acquisitions just to increase revenues.

“We look at M&A as a way to make our core business thrive. Recent deals show we want to be vertically integrated in what we do,” he said.

By the end of this year, the company will open its first high technology lab in California’s Silicon Valley to accelerate its digitization strategy.

“We will be in California to acquire know-how on latest artificial-intelligence technologies, but also to look around, if we see there are startups catching our attention,” Schillaci said.

Brembo shareholders have approved a loyalty share scheme that would allow its controlling family to retain that position as the company looks to make acquisitions.

New adaptive braking

Brembo on Monday unveiled its latest braking system, called Sensify.

The braking system can operate independently on each of a vehicle’s four wheels. It includes a digital “brain” that uses data to adapt braking to personal driving styles and changing road conditions.

Schillaci said Brembo was in talks with a major unidentified automaker to supply Sensify to its models starting from 2024.

He said he expected the system would become a “standard feature,” at least for premium platforms, by 2030.

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