Nokia Sells HERE Mapping Business for $3B to European Auto Makers
Nokia (NOK) confirmed that it will sell its much sought-after HERE mapping service to a group of top European automobile makers, including Audi, BMW and Daimler AG (Mercedes), for 2.8 billion euros, or $3.07 billion, in a deal that concludes months of rumors over how the Finnish device maker might deal with the unit.
Nokia said its net proceeds from the deal, which is expected to close in Q1 2016, will be about 2.5 billion euros or $2.7 billion based on subtracting some 300 million euros in what it called “defined liabilities” of the HERE operation from the deal’s final figures.
Nokia said it will report HERE as a discontinued operation beginning in Q3 2015. HERE will function as a Nokia business until the transaction closes, the company said.
HERE currently is developing a location cloud to deliver real-time, predictive and personalized location services, officials said.
In mid-April, Nokia signaled its interest in selling the HERE unit when it opened a “review of strategic options,” at the same time as it announced its $16.6 billion acquisition of French networking equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). The HERE sale officially closes Nokia’s review process.
“I believe today’s announcement is a very good outcome for HERE, its customers and employees,” said Sean Fernback, HERE president. “The new ownership structure of HERE will allow us to accelerate our strategy, further scale our business and fulfill our intent to become the leading location cloud company across industries,” he said.
Fernback told TechCrunch that HERE would become “a much stronger company” that will remain independent and neutral — “the Switzerland of maps” — following the acquisition.
In the first half of 2015, HERE generated an operating profit of 28 million euros or $30 million, Nokia said. For the full year 2014, HERE revenue rose 6 percent to $1.06 billion as operating profit fell 35 percent to about $40 million, Nokia reported. The vendor credited HERE’s sales increase primarily to sales in the automotive market.
In Q4 2014, HERE sold map data licenses for the embedded navigation systems of 3.9 million new vehicles, compared to 3.2 million vehicles in Q4 2013, the company said.
At this point, it’s unclear what will happen with HERE’s 6,500 employees, with no word yet as to how many might be retained or laid off in the acquisition.
When the dust settles, Nokia’s operations will consist of Nokia Networks, including its Alcatel-Lucent acquisition, focused on broadband infrastructure software and services, and Nokia Technologies, concentrating on technology development and licensing.
The Nokia Technologies unit will work with OEMs to release new mobile devices next year.