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Car groups eye Nokia Here mapping technology

UPDATED: BMW, Daimler and Audi are in talks to buy Nokia's Nokia Here mapping unit for more than €2.5 billion, according to press reports22 Jul 2015

The price could be pushed even higher after negotiations on intellectual property and warranties, the Financial Times said, citing three people familiar with the situation.

Nokia is still considering whether to retain a stake in Nokia Here, the report said. An announcement on the sale is expected at the end of July, it said.

The high-definition map service uses cloud technology to send maps to devices including mobile phones, tablets and vehicles. Nokia bought the technology from Navteq in 2007, for approximately €5.7bn.

Commercial law expert Ben Gardner of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "As consumer demand shifts and the environmental and safety benefits of driverless and connected vehicles become more apparent, the automotive sector is going to become increasingly reliant on innovative technology."

"As a result, it is likely that we will see a rising number of acquisitions or collaborative working arrangements between automotive and technology companies so that OEMs are able to offer end users the best possible driver experience," he said.

"This, and the other deals and partnerships we are likely to see in the future, demonstrates the increasing convergence between the automotive and technology sectors," Gardner said.

Nokia Here announced on Monday that it is making high-definition (HD) mapping data of sections of public roads in the US, France, Germany and Japan available to all automotive companies to support their highly automated vehicle initiatives. It is working with more than 10 leading automotive companies on automated driving projects, it said.

Nokia said in April that it is buying French rival Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6bn. The combined company, called Nokia Corporation, will bring together Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs with Nokia's FutureWorks creating "unparalleled innovation capabilities", the companies said.

Nokia sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft last year in a €5.44 billion deal. The move signaled Nokia's intention to focus on its other businesses, which include network infrastructure software, hardware and services, location intelligence, and advanced technology development and licensing.

Editor’s note 23/07/2015:
Ben Gardner’s comments were added to the story.

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