Nokia appears to have succeeded in its attempts to drum up interest in HERE, with news reports suggesting that Uber, Facebook, three German automotive makers and a group of venture capitalists are prepared to or have already submitted a bid for the location and mapping unit.

The New York Times wrote last week that Uber, a ride-sharing service based in San Francisco, has tabled an offer of 2.7 billion euros for HERE.

The Wall Street Journal, in turn, reported that BMW AG, Audi AG and Daimler are prepared to offer “considerably more than two billion euros” for HERE as part of a consortium that also includes Baidu, a Chinese technology firm.

The automotive makers consider it crucial to prevent Google and other technology firms from taking over the market for in-car digital mapping services – an increasingly vital part of the technology as the automotive industry is taking steps toward self-driving cars.

The Wall Street Journal revealed that the automotive makers are concerned that Google could develop an operating system for self-driving cars and, similarly to its mobile user interface Android, make it available for free.

Information obtained by the business daily suggests that negotiations over the acquisition of HERE are already at an advanced stage, with the automotive makers being set to take a majority and Baidu a minority stake in the location and mapping unit. In addition, Nokia would hold a minority stake in HERE, according to sources interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

The automotive makers have according to the daily already approached Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, in an attempt to promote the takeover through political channels.

HERE has been founded on NAVTEQ, an American provider of digital mapping and location services Nokia acquired in 2007 for 5.7 billion euros.

Anni Lassila – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT