Nokia might be expanding into areas like VR, but it’s no longer in the maps business — it’s just sold its Here unit to a consortium of German carmakers including BMW, Audi, and Mercedes’ parent company Daimler. The final price was €2.8 billion, or just over $3 billion. Each partner will hold an equal stake in Here and none will seek to acquire a majority interest. The Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that the deal had been agreed in principle, and that the consortium plans to invite other carmakers to invest in the new business.
“High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future. With the joint acquisition of Here, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler.
In a press release, the trio of auto companies stress the acquisition’s importance in preparing the automotive industry for the future:
“Here is laying the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location based services. For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving. Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services. On the basis of the shared raw data, all automobile manufacturers can offer their customers differentiated and brand-specific services.”
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.