Nokia Oyj decided – as it was reported on numerous occasions – this week to divest its mapping services unit Here to a consortium of automakers consisting of the German luxury triumvirate: BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
That puts into play the remaining independent mapping provider – TomTom NV – though the Duth rival is not seen by analysts and industry experts fetching the same copious takeover amount. The German carmakers have valued the Here division at around 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion) – which is around 25 times the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of TomTom. That would mean around 13 euros per share, which is 30 percent above the current threshold for the Dutch company – a premium that minority shareholders would welcome but experts don’t see likely. The stock did trade that high around six years ago but analysts don’t forecast a return to the level on its own for the next twelve months.
According to people that have knowledge of the matter, TomTom has started exploring its own options that could implicate a sale and wants to attract investors that were looking at Nokia’s Here but had to back down as the German consortium became the main contender. Among the latter we already know about Uber Technologies, the disruptive car-hailing company, which contemplated an alliance with China’s Baidu Inc. and Apax Partners for the bid earlier this year. TomTom is a viable and also among the last digital-map assets that would make a great target for auto industry peers or technology giants such as Apple and Uber – but the company has the disadvantage of having fallen behind Here in terms of automotive market share.