Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group announced on Sunday plans to acquire Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) in a deal worth 164 million British pounds ($222 million).
Fortescue is among the world's biggest iron ore miners and is looking to tap WAE's expertise in electrification to help lower the carbon footprint of its mining operations. Fortescue has a stated goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Fortescue is also looking to become a key player in the growing market for green industrial transport equipment. Specific projects that will involve WAE include developing green freight trains, mining trucks, and industrial heavy mobile equipment.
WAE is a technology offshoot of the Williams Formula One team, and was founded in 2010 with the aim of commercializing technologies developed for F1 competition, particularly in the area of batteries.
WAE is being sold by Williams F1 and private equity firm EMK Capital, its main shareholder. The F1 team itself was sold to private equity firm Dorilton Capital only in 2020. And in a similar move, McLaren sold off its own technology offshoot, McLaren Applied, last year.
In a statement, Claire Williams, whose father Frank Williams founded WAE, welcomed the deal.
“We are delighted that Fortescue are now taking over that mantle and see the value in the company and its people in tackling some of the biggest issues facing our world today,” she said.
It isn't clear whether the deal means WAE will continue to develop and supply technology for use in cars and motorsport.