The three giant German automakers have announced that the acquisition of Nokia’s digital mapping and location business HERE has been finalised.
After receiving approvals from all competent antitrust authorities, Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG/Mercedes-Benz have announced they successfully finalised the acquisition of Nokia’s digital mapping and location business HERE. The purchase began last August and concluded with the Swedish phone manufacturer selling HERE for approximately 2.55 billion euros. HERE was originally unveiled in 2012, initially as an exclusive app to Nokia’s own Windows Phone smartphones. In April 2014, Microsoft bought Nokia’s devices and services business, with HERE remaining part of the company left behind in Finland as an independent entity. While the consumer app is free to download and use, Nokia makes money through licensing deals for its data, for example for satellite navigation systems installed in cars, as well as to Microsoft.
Nokia announced in April that it wanted to sale HERE and this announcement was a wakeup call for BMW, Audi and Mercedes/Daimler as there were concerns that the mapping business could be bought by some tech company that could monopolize the industry. Therefore, the three automakers made a partnership for the purchase of HERE. Uber and the Chinese company Baidu were also interested in Nokia’s HERE. One of the main reasons of the high interest shown by the carmakers in digital mapping is that maps are playing a crucial role in the forthcoming autonomous technologies. “High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future,” Dieter Zetsche, Daimler chief executive, said in a statement.
Regarding the acquisition, the consortium said, “HERE is laying the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location-based services. For the automotive industry, this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving… On the basis of the shared raw data, all automobile manufacturers can offer their customers differentiated and brand-specific services.”