Verizon to acquire Hughes Telematics for $612m; eyes auto vertical

Verizon will pay $612 million for Hughes Telematics to double down on the automotive sector -- and the health one, too. It's all about the verticals

Verizon on Friday said it will pay $612 million for Hughes Telematics, an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in automotive computer systems.

If you haven't been keeping score at home, Verizon has been aggressively moving to cover various communications verticals -- healthcare, home, government, now automotive -- as the "Internet of Things" ramps up and more and more devices become connected.

Verizon basically admits as much in the press release:

HTI will play a key role in Verizon's strategy to offer platform-based solutions tailored to specific industries. Verizon earlier this year launched a new practice focused on developing telematics solutions that leverage the company's cloud and information technology (IT), security, global IP network and communications, and mobility and M2M technology platforms.

For in-car telematics, that means even more development of machine-to-machine (or M2M) services and applications that apply to safety (e.g. OnStar-like emergency services, or maintenance), convenience (e.g. voice-based text messaging) or straight up infotainment (weather, sports scores, stock prices, Internet music).

That's where Hughes comes in -- the company covers the commercial fleet, aftermarket and original equipment manufacturer segments. (Interestingly, it also offers products and services for mHealth. See? Verticals!) As Verizon, it will get increased global reach to pedal its wares.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, after which Hughes will operate as a Verizon subsidiary within its Enterprise Solutions group. It will remain in Georgia.