Volkswagen (VW) has confirmed it is to buy French car rental company Europcar. VW is interested in gaining access to Europcar’s infrastructure and technology as the basis for developing future mobility services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing.

In a news release, VW said, “The Volkswagen Group is taking a major step forward in its new auto strategy to become a leading provider of individual mobility in the electric and fully connected age. In a consortium with London-based asset manager Attestor Limited and Dutch mobility provider Pon Holdings BV, Volkswagen agreed to launch a recommended takeover offer for Europcar Mobility Group…”

Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said, “The mobility market is changing rapidly as customers increasingly demand new and innovative on-demand mobility solutions, such as subscription and sharing models to complement car ownership.”

“Europcar provides advanced fleet management capabilities as well as a broad network of stations at major airports, railway stations and city locations and will help accelerate Volkswagen’s delivery of its ambitious mobility services targets.”

Europcar has more than 3,500 rental stations across more than 140 countries and a fleet of over 350,000 vehicles in 2019, serving over 5 million customers per year.

The announcement also said that the minimum acceptance threshold for the takeover offer is 67%, and existing shareholders holding 68% in Europcar have committed to accept the takeover offer. The offer price represents a 27% premium to the closing price as of June 22 — the last day before the consortium’s approach became public and implies an enterprise value of 2.9 billion euros.

VW says the transaction provides a compelling opportunity to create a leading mobility platform and deliver new solutions to meet growing customer demand for services complementing car ownership.

Volkswagen has previously owned Europcar, and in June said it was considering buying a majority stake in the company to tap into the trend for consumers to rent rather than own a vehicle, according to a Reuters report. Volkswagen sold the company in 2006.

Though Volkswagen will have a majority shareholding in the joint holding company, it will neither control the consortium nor Europcar, the release added.