Economy, Sci & Tech

German Carmakers to Buy Nokia Maps

German Carmakers to Buy Nokia MapsGerman Carmakers to Buy Nokia Maps

German carmakers BMW, Audi (VW) and Daimler will pay around $2.75 billion to buy Nokia's maps business, a transformational deal that will help them to develop self-driving cars.

Daimler, BMW and Audi will each hold an equal stake in the business, known as HERE, keeping it from falling into the hands of new rivals emerging from Silicon Valley.

The premium carmakers agreed to pay $2.75 billion. The deal has an enterprise value of €2.8 billion, including liabilities worth nearly €300 million, Nokia said. The transaction is likely to close in the first quarter of 2016, Reuters reported.

The three carmakers, which invented the modern motorcar in 1886, want to own the customer relationships that otherwise could shift to challengers such as Uber, Google or Apple.

"With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said.

Intelligent mapping systems like HERE form the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to the car.

In future, such mapping systems will have a role to play in collision detection and other features of self-driving cars.

HERE is the leading supplier of high-resolution digital maps for most of the world's top automakers and also supplies Internet customers, including Amazon, Yahoo and Baidu.