Shell is buying EV charging company Volta for $169 million

Oil and gas company is buying electric vehicle charging operator for $169 million through a subsidiary. The deal, which the companies expect to close in the first half of this year, amounts to 86 cents per share, around 18 percent more than Volta’s closing price on Tuesday.

Volta’s board of directors approved the deal unanimously, though it still requires the green light from shareholders. It’s subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions too. Shell will provide loans to Volta to give it a hand through the closing of the transaction. , Volta had $15.6 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared with $262.2 million at the end of 2021.

“While the EV infrastructure market opportunity is potentially enormous, Volta’s ability to capture it independently, in challenging market conditions and with ongoing capital constraints, was limited,” Volta interim CEO Vince Cubbage . “Both Volta and Shell have a demonstrated ability to meet the changing needs of customers, and this acquisition will bring that experience together to provide the options that are needed as more drivers choose electric.”

The company has more than 3,000 charging stations across the U.S. and a handful in Europe, typically at . For a few years, its DC fast charging stations were , with advertising and sponsorships helping to cover the costs. However, it its DC fast chargers to a paid model last year. Volta’s more than 2,000 L2 chargers are still . After the deal closes, “there will be no immediate change in driver experience,” the companies said.

Odd as it may seem that an oil company is buying an EV charging network, it isn’t the first time Shell has done so. It snapped up UK network Ubitricity for an undisclosed sum. Last year, Hertz and BP to set up a charging network in the U.S.

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