Nokia on Sunday night confirmed that it will sell its Here maps unit to a consortium of three German car makers for 2.8 billion euros ($3.07 billion), ending weeks of speculation over the fate of the largest alternative to Google Maps.
It is barely a month since we reported about Nokia contemplating the sale of HERE Maps division to a group of German carmakers. Reuters reports that the deal has finally been concluded – Nokia has confirmed the sale of HERE for close to $3.07 billion.
The sale, which is to a consortium of German carmakers including Audi AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG, is expected to be announced later today and close in the first quarter of 2016. All 3 carmakers will hold an equal stake in the acquisition. HERE’s intelligent mapping system will form a basis for producing their own self-driving cars. From all indications, they plan to also license it to other carmakers:
The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors.
Analysts have estimated that self-driving cars could become a $50 billion industry in the near future so, not keeping the software to themselves is easily the smartest move by the 3 car makers. Especially as high-tech rivals such as Google and Apple are already in that space, the former appearing to have made the most progress so far.
Once the HERE deal is closed, Nokia will have sold off 2 of its major divisions, the first being the mobile phone business which was sold to Microsoft in 2013. The good news for the Nokia faithful is that plans for reviving the mobile phone business are already in the pipeline.