Nokia has sold its HERE mapping business to European car makers Audi, BMW and Mercedes for US$3.07bn (€2.8bn) in a deal that will close in the first quarter of 2016.
The German car makers have emerged successful over Baidu, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and Apple, all of whom expressed an interest in buying HERE.
The car makers’ consortium members will have three, separate roles: as investors, customers and suppliers of data.
Customers of HERE include Microsoft, Samsung and SAP and its technology underpins apps used by consumers on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.
“The new ownership structure of HERE will allow us to accelerate our strategy, further scale our business and fulfil our intent to become the leading location cloud company across industries,” said HERE president Sean Fernbank.
In Nokia’s recent Q2 results the HERE mapping division reported sales of €290m, up from €232m a year ago.
HERE’s future as the Switzerland of mapping
HERE is developing a location cloud to harness the power of data generated by vehicles, devices and infrastructure to deliver real-time, predictive and personalised location services.
The acquisition ends months of speculation about the future of HERE amidst Nokia’s transformation from being a one-time dominant mobile device brand into a fully-fledged telecoms equipment player.
“With this step we complete the latest stage of Nokia’s transformation,” explained Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia.
“We integrated the former Nokia Siemens Networks, divested our devices and services business, and have now reached agreement on a transaction for HERE that we believe is the best path forward for our shareholders, as well as the customers and employees of HERE.
“Going forward, we will focus on our planned combination with Alcatel-Lucent. Once that is complete, Nokia will be a renewed company, with a world-leading network technology and services business, as well as the licensing and innovation engine of Nokia Technologies.”
In-car GPS image via Shutterstock