The German premium trio powerhouses – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – have been rumored to have placed a bid for the upcoming purchase of Nokia’s crucial Here mapping business.

The three luxury “kings” have now also rallied with private equity firm General Atlantic to increase their chances for success in their joint bid to purchase Nokia’s Here, a crucial global provider of automotive navigation mapping solutions, say two sources that have talked to Reuters. Finland’s Nokia stirred up the automotive industry last month when it initiated a strategic review of the mapping division Here, also initiating an upcoming auction process that could see the unit sold for up to $4 billion. The automakers are not alone in their bid, as others are also interested in the mapping service, such as Internet giant from China – Baidu – or the biggest car-sharing business out there – Uber Technologies. Nokia is divesting the mapping business after it decided to purchase network equipment maker Alcatel Lucent in a 15.6 billion-euro deal.

According to a financial industry source, the General Atlantic private equity firm would have control over 30 percent of the auto industry-led group, though the exact percentage is not yet final and could change. Another source, from within the auto industry, added that all three automakers are ready to bring as much as 700 million euros each to the table. A third auto industry person added the carmakers have already sent an intention bid of an undisclosed sum to the Finnish company, but no response has been given yet and thus a decision to top it is not yet made.

Via Reuters


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