Nokia’s plans to sell the Here Maps division kicked off with dozens of bids from private equity, Silicon Valley, Chinese giants and automotive manufacturers, but only the latter remains in the bidding.
Uber, one of the prominent names on the Here Maps potential buyers list, lost its chance after bidding way too low. The taxi service offered $3 billion (£1.93 billion), but Nokia wanted $4 billion (£2.5 billion) for the division.
At that time, a German consortium of manufacturers—including Audi, BMW and Volkswagen—were ready to offer that amount, but with Uber, Baidu, Tencent and several other bidders dropping out, the consortium has started haggling for a price drop.
The German manufacturers use Here Maps for on-board navigation and turn-by-turn mapping, with Nokia offering better rates for business than Google Maps. A sale to Uber might harm the price of the license for Here Maps, and Uber may have took Here Maps off the market.
With the drop in interest, Uber might be able to establish a second bid. It is not clear if Nokia didn’t want to sell to Uber, or if they were unhappy with the first bid.
Uber reportedly partnered with Baidu to acquire Here Maps. Baidu would use Here Maps to power its own Baidu Maps outside of Mainland China, while Uber would swap Google Maps with Here for its mobile taxi service.
Nokia recently acquired Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion (£10 billion), showing the company’s interest in becoming the largest networking supplier in the world. Here Maps, like Nokia’s mobile division, has become secondary in the long-term plan.