Nokia could offload HERE, its mapping business, as it looks to focus on its core networks unit and paying back debt, according to Bloomberg.
Potential buyers include taxi app Uber, various private-equity groups and a consortium of German car manufacturers. Bids are expected as soon as this month.
According to Nokia’s own financial reports, HERE is valued at €2 billion, although some analysts have put a significantly higher sale value on the business in the range of €3.3 billion to €4.8 billion.
The Finnish company based its mapping strategy on its $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq in 2008.
HERE is showing revenue growth bur reported a full-year operating loss of €1.24 billion, including goodwill impairment of €1.21 billion. It operates in a tricky market where its main rival — Google — gives away its product for free.
The Nokia unit has constructed a business model targeting three opportunities: car navigation, asset management for the enterprise sector and selling mapping information to big internet players such as Amazon and Microsoft, which would rather not be reliant on Google.
However, synergies with the rest of the business have become less obvious since Nokia sold its handsets business to Microsoft.
HERE is one of only three units in Nokia, although the networks business accounts for 90 per cent of total revenue. In addition to the mapping and networks units, there is also its IP unit called Nokia Technologies.
The usual caveat is thought to apply that if no offer of sufficient value comes through, then Nokia will pull HERE off the market.
The proceeds from a HERE sale could be used to strengthen Nokia networks by snapping up rival Alcatel-Lucent’s wireless-access business, so building scale in its core activity, according to Sebastien Sztabowicz, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux.