Contest for Nokia's HERE seen as a three-way race

Fri May 22, 2015 12:31pm EDT
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By Andreas Cremer and Arno Schuetze

NECKARSULM, Germany (Reuters) - The contest for Nokia's NOK1V.HE maps business has become a three-way race between German carmakers, a consortium including Uber and Baidu, and a third group including China's Tencent and Navinfo, people familiar with the process said.

Finland's Nokia has started an auction of its maps business HERE while it completes its 15.6 billion euros ($17.2 billion) takeover of network equipment maker Alcatel Lucent ALUA.PA.

German automakers Daimler (DAIGn.DE: Quote), BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) and Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) premium brand Audi have teamed up with private equity firm General Atlantic to form what is being described as the "Industry consortium", two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Nokia, Daimler, BMW and General Atlantic declined to comment.

The automakers have agreed to contribute potentially more than 700 million euros, but below 1 billion euros, said one auto industry source, who declined to be named. The consortium could be widened to include more carmakers, the source added.

Another group consists of Chinese media, mobile and Internet services firm Tencent Holdings (0700.HK: Quote), Chinese map maker Navinfo Co. (002405.SZ: Quote), and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, three sources who declined to be named said.

Navinfo and Tencent were not immediately available for comment. EQT declined to comment.

Private equity firm Apax has joined U.S.-based taxi service Uber and China's Baidu (BIDU.O: Quote) in a third consortium, a financial source who declined to be named said.   Continued...

Uber logo is seen on a smartphone in front of a displayed logo of HERE, Nokia Oyj's map business, in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in this May 8, 2015 photo illustration.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic