May 8, 2015
Uber is ready to play with the big boys and is proving just that with a mammoth $3-billion bid for Here, Nokia’s mapping service.
“Three people with knowledge of the offer” told the New York Times that Uber has entered the race against a consortium of German automakers — which includes BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz — teamed up with Chinese search engine Baidu. There has also been a bid from an unnamed private equity firm.
Although Uber is currently partnering with Google Maps for the operation of its online taxi service, it is thought Uber wants to be a little more independent of the technology titan. Buying Here would enable Uber to cut ties with Google altogether.
Nokia confirmed last month it is considering the sale of its navigation, mapping and location intelligence business, which is estimated to be worth a minimum of $2 billion.
According to various news reports, several large companies are interested in acquiring Here — Facebook, Apple, Samsung and Yahoo have reportedly shown interest as have Alibaba and Tencent.
Earlier this week Facebook confirmed Nokia’s Here mapping division is now powering mobile mapping on its network.
“We are testing Nokia HERE maps across Facebook to give us more control and flexibility in delivering a consistent maps experience,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “I can confirm that we’re testing Here maps in Android versions of some of our standalone apps like Instagram and Messenger as well.”
The fact that the deal was kept quiet could signify the social network has the inside track on purchasing the Finnish firm’s Here division, although that is just speculation at this point.
It is not known if Facebook has put in a bid, or if it has, how it stacks up to Uber’s bid.
Nokia, on April 15, announced it had “initiated a review of strategic options, including a potential divestment, for its Here business.”
“The strategic review of Here is on-going and it may or may not result in any transaction,” the company said in a statement. “Any further announcements about Here will be made as appropriate.”
It is thought Nokia could announce the sale of Here by month’s end.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.