German carmakers buy Nokia HERE

17-volkswagen-75-052012A gaggle of German carmakers have written a very precise cheque to by the former maker of rubber boot Nokia’s mapping business.

Called HERE, the business is apparently worth $2.74 billion to the Germans who are desperate to create Lebensraum in the digital services for connected cars market.

Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen’s premium division Audi will each hold an equal stake in HERE and none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest, they said in a joint statement.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

“For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving,” the buyers said in a joint statement.

The Finnish company is shedding the maps business to help it focus on integrating its 15.6 billion-euro purchase of Alcatel Lucent in a deal that will create the world’s second largest network equipment maker.

Nokia built its mapping and location business on the back of an $8.1 billion acquisition in 2008 of Navteq, a maker of geographic information systems used in the automotive industry. It was Nokia’s largest deal ever, prior to the planned Alcatel-Lucent merger.

HERE provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services. The company will continue to develop its position as a strong and independent provider of maps and location-based services

Intelligent mapping systems are the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to the car.