Uber may have submitted a $3 billion bid to buy Google Maps rival

Travis Kalanick(AP Photo/Paul Sakluma, File)Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick arrives at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Uber doesn’t usually make acquisitions, let alone get into bidding wars. But the ride-hailing juggernaut has submitted a bid to buy Nokia’s mapping product, Here, according to the New York Times.

Nokia’s mapping product Here has been a hot commodity this week. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that European carmakers BMW, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Audi were banding together with Chinese search engine company Baidu to launch a formal bid to buy Here. This would prevent other tech companies like Apple or Google from buying it first for their self-driving car projects.

Here is a significant business — it’s the main rival to Google Maps, in terms of mapping units — and would be a boon to Uber. Via the New York Times:

Nokia’s mapping business holds more than an 80 per cent global market share for built-in car navigation systems, and spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to update its maps that span from New York to New Delhi. Here, which is based in Berlin, employs about 6,000 people worldwide to maintain Nokia’s digital maps and connected-car services with almost three million daily adjustments. The unit reported yearly revenue of $US1.1 billion, or less than 8 per cent of Nokia’s total sales in 2014, according company records.

Citing three anonymous sources familiar with the offer, The Times says Uber could buy Here for as much as $US3 billion, made feasibly through Uber’s $US5.9 billion in venture capital funding and its staggering revenue run rates.

Nokia announced in April that it was considering selling Here. By the end of this month, Nokia is expected to announce its sale.

Currently, Uber relies on Google Maps technology for its mapping. But buying Here would allow the company to have its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business, but also its other logistics-related endeavours, including UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service.

We’ve reached out to Uber and will update this post accordingly if we hear back.

Read the full New York Times story here.

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