Bidding war starts over control of Tele Atlas

The merger and acquisition (M&A) market in the navigation market is heating up again.

The Financial Times reports that Navigation and communication devices manufacturer Garmin is planning to wreck the plan of Tomtom to purchase Dutch map provider Teleatlas by upping the offer for TeleAtlas shares in a surprising move.

Tele Atlas conditionally agreed to be acquired on the 23rd of July 2007 for Eur 2bn.

The recent purchase of Navteq, a provider of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, by mobile device company Nokia for USD 8.1bn means that there are no major GIS providers left on the market.

The news got sent Tele Atlas shares rocketing by nearly 15% and the shares are almost doubled their price of one year ago, well above the offered price of Garmin or Tomtom (Eur 27.60 against Eur 24.50 and Eur 21.25 respectively).

The M&A speculation added nearly Eur 400m to the market capitalisation of Tele Atlas in one week.

It is not known whether either of the companies will up their offers in order to outbid one another.