A group of Chinese investors abandoned plans to acquire a minority stake in HERE, the digital mapping company once owned by Nokia, after US regulators prevented the deal from moving forward.
The investors, led by Beijing-based digital map provider NavInfo, sought to acquire a 10 per cent stake in HERE, but failed to secure clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.
HERE, owned by automakers BMW, Daimler and Audi among others, is based in Amsterdam, but the US holds some authority over the deal because the mapping company has a presence in Chicago.
Along with NavInfo, China-based Tencent and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC were the other potential investors.
In a statement, HERE said the Chinese investors’ decision to drop the deal: “follows a regulatory review process during which the parties determined there was no practicable path to receiving the necessary approval for the transaction to proceed”.
Despite the investment decision, HERE and NavInfo pressed on with the launch of a China-based joint venture in which HERE will expand its location services into the country. In a statement, HERE said the partners will also develop services including HD maps for autonomous vehicles “for Chinese and global customers”.
HERE will also cooperate with Tencent as part of its Chinese push.
Finnish vendor Nokia sold HERE to the consortium of German automakers for €2.8 billion in 2015.
The Chinese investors announced their plan to acquire the 10 per cent stake in late 2016. The proposed transaction, which was worth around $330 million based on HERE’s overall value, secured German antitrust approval in January.
Failing to secure US approval is the latest indication President Donald Trump’s government is taking a hard line on acquisitions with links to China.
Bloomberg pointed out the US security review process is also far-reaching, given the US was able to scupper a deal for a minority stake in a Europe-based company.
Trump this month also blocked a deal between Beijing backed private equity company Canyon Bridge Capital Partners and US-based Lattice Semiconductors on national security grounds.