Nokia’s mapping and location business has a buyer.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that German automakers Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG are set to purchase Nokia’s HERE digital mapping service for $2.71 billion.
The Journal reported that the automakers, which see HERE as crucial to development of future car technologies like self-driving vehicles, will invite other companies to take a stake in HERE after purchasing the business.
In April, Nokia said it had begun “a review of strategic options, including a potential divestment” for HERE, one of the three major businesses that remained part of Nokia following Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business. Microsoft agreed to a long-term license of the HERE technology as part of its Nokia deal.
While Google Maps has substantially more users, the New York Times reported in May that HERE has an 80 percent market share for built-in car navigation systems and has 6,000 employees making nearly 3 million daily updates to the mapping software.
Uber was also in talks to buy HERE, but the ride-hailing company dropped out of the bidding several weeks ago, the Journal reported.
Former HERE CEO Michael Halbherr, who stepped down this past August, told GeekWire last year that his company wanted “to create an incredible location cloud business.”
“We want to be known as the location cloud also from a consumer perspective, the way Spotify is known for music,” he said. “We want to work everywhere.”
HERE has a substantial presence in the Seattle region following its acquisition of Medio Systems last year. We’ve reached out to the company to learn how HERE employees in Seattle will be affected by the reported purchase, and will update when we hear back.