Nokia confirmed late Sunday evening that it has agreed to sell its HERE mapping technology to a group of German automakers for $3.07 billion.
Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG will acquire Nokia’s HERE digital mapping service, with each company holding an equal stake. The deal is expected to close early next year and is subject to regulatory approval.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the deal two weeks ago and noted that the automakers 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.
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 deal, and will update when we hear back.
Update: Medio CEO Rob Lilleness told GeekWire today that HERE will continue to invest in its Seattle office, which is focused on analytics for the mapping platform. In fact, HERE just inked a lease to double its office space in Seattle. It currently employs 70 in the Emerald City, with room for up to 130 employees with the additional space.