The battle to acquire HERE, Nokia’s digital mapping business, continues to hot up after the three leading German car manufacturers involved in the bidding process teamed up with private equity firm General Atlantic to raise the consortium’s hopes of clinching the deal.
Reuters reports that Audi, BMW and Mercedes have partnered with General Atlantic to help finance their bid, with the private equity firm set to take a 30 per cent stake in the consortium.
The carmakers reportedly made an indicative offer to Nokia earlier this month, committing to invest up to $780 million each to complete the acquisition, matching HERE’s value of approximately $2.2 billion.
However, it quickly became clear that the companies would need some external financial help to fend off growing competition.
Nokia has yet to respond to the consortium over its last bid, but all signs point to a revised offer given stiff competition from the likes of Uber in particular, which has already submitted a bid of as much as $3 billion to add HERE to its portfolio.
Uber’s offer was followed by reports earlier this week indicating the taxi hailing company is to partner with Chinese search engine giant Baidu and private equity firm Apax Partners for the next round of bidding.
Analysts believe it could take as much as €4 billion to prise HERE away from Nokia. The Finnish vendor has admitted it is mulling its options over the future of the business. It could use the proceeds from a sale to help fund its $16.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.
The price of HERE could be pushed even higher if rumoured interested companies, including Apple, Facebook and Samsung, come to the fore.
Audi, BMW and Mercedes are reportedly quietly confident that they hold the upper hand in the race, given that HERE is dependent on carmakers for over 50 per cent of its revenue.