A group of three German carmakers, which emerged as the leading bidder for mapping business HERE, are in a standoff with owner Nokia, said Reuters.
BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen face less pressure to bid aggressively now rival consortia appear to have fallen apart, leaving the carmakers sitting in pole position, say sources.
HERE is thought to be worth between €2 billion and €4 billion.
The Finnish firm has been asking for indicative offers but is now pressing interested parties to submit final bids. It’s possible Nokia might maintain a small stake in HERE after it is sold.
Once considered a frontrunner for HERE, Uber has just bought some of Microsoft’s mapping assets, and appears out of the running. It was thought Uber, Baidu and Apax were lining up a consortium to rival the German car firms.
Negotiations between the German firms and Nokia have not broken down but are at a delicate stage, said one source.
BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen are all customers of HERE’s maps.
Nokia is considering a sale of its HERE unit as it focuses on its core networking business via a proposed merger with Alcatel-Lucent.
The three carmakers enjoy some leverage in the sale process, since other buyers would see HERE’s value shrink if they switched to another map supplier, such as TomTom.
None of the carmakers would comment.
Nokia would only say it is progressing with its strategic review of HERE, which might or might not result in a sale of the business.