The Finnish company has one of the most important assets in the automotive industry – a mapping services unit – so there’s no wonder the decision to sell it has turned the affair into a global battle.
The maps business is today coveted by three major players – a party led by the German luxury automakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes, helped by private equity power to bring up the necessary financing power. Another party includes among others Uber Technologies – the well known ride-sharing US provider – and Baidu, the Chinese Internet giant. The final group has China’s Tencent and Navinfo, according to sources that have talked to Reuters under condition of anonymity. Finland’s Nokia decided to auction off its mapping service provider Here as it wants to gather the necessary funds to complete the 15.6 billion euros acquisition of network equipment maker Alcatel Lucent. German luxury carmakers Daimler, BMW and Audi have shed their animosities as rivals and jointly bid, with the help of private equity firm General Atlantic through what is now seen as the “Industry consortium”, according to persons with knowledge of the matter.
According to the sources, the carmakers have each agreed to bring to the table at least 700 million euros, with the consortium still accepting interested players among the automakers. Another three sources said a rivaling group consists of Chinese media, mobile and Internet services firm Tencent Holdings, Chinese map maker Navinfo and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB. US-based ride hailing service provider Uber and China’s Baidu have been joined by private equity firm Apax to establish the third consortium.