A potential buyer for Nokia’s navigation business, Facebook, has struck a deal with the Finnish company to use HERE for some of its mobile mapping, said Techcrunch.
The social media giant confirmed it is testing HERE in the Android version of standalone apps such as Instagram and Messenger, as well as the mobile web version of Facebook itself. However, the flagship Facebook app does not appear part of the deal.
Facebook is one of a growing list of suitors thought to be sniffing around HERE, which also includes Apple, Samsung, Uber, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Yahoo, a consortium of German car manufacturers, and at least one US private equity firm.
Such a rollcall is indicative of HERE’s strategic value and gives weight to those expressing amazement that Nokia is even considering a sale.
For one thing, HERE is attractive to internet players as a counterweight to Google Maps. It already has partnerships with Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft and Baidu.
The mapping unit is thought to be worth €2 billion, probably more. Some observers questioned the logic of a sale for a business with demonstrable growth. Net sales for HERE jumped by 25 per cent in Nokia’s most recently quarterly results.
CEO Rajeev Suri confirmed during last week’s quarterly results that a strategic review of HERE was underway, including a potential sale, but did say that the ruminations might not necessarily end in disposal.
Back to Facebook, the deal seems to have two forms: Firstly, actual HERE maps appearing in Facebook’s apps, as well as the social media giant using the Finnish firm’s geocoding, which provides data to Facebook and users for tagging locations.
Finally, the deal raises the question of whether Facebook is still a potential buyer, as well as a partner. If only the latter than what happens to the partnership should HERE be sold is unclear.