Uber bids for Nokia's digital mapping service: NYT

May 08, 2015 08:33
Here, Nokia's Berlin-based mapping unit, corners more than 80 percent of the global market for built-in car navigation systems. Photo: Bloomberg

Taxi-hailing mobile service Uber has submitted a bid for Here, a mapping business owned by Finnish telecom giant Nokia, for up to US$3 billion, the New York Times reported, citing sources with knowledge of the offer.

The move is part of Uber's plan to become an integrated logistics company that delivers people and things within cities as quickly as possible, a business that relies heavily on Google Maps, the newspaper said.

Aside from Uber, a consortium of German automakers, including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, is also planning to bid for the business, which Nokia said last month it was considering selling.

An undisclosed private equity firm has also submitted a separate offer.

Nokia is expected to announce the sale of its Berlin-based mapping unit by the end of the month.

The multibillion-dollar battle to buy Here underscores the growing importance of digital mapping services as companies connect their products to the internet, the report said.

Other technology heavyweights such as Facebook and Microsoft have previously shown interest in acquiring the mapping unit.

Nokia’s mapping business holds more than 80 percent of the global market for built-in car navigation systems, and spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to update its maps that span from New York to New Delhi.

It has 6,000 employees worldwide who maintain Nokia’s digital maps and connected-car services with almost three million daily adjustments.

The unit reported an annual revenue of US$1.1 billion in 2014, the report said.

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