Uber is out of the running for buying Here, Nokia’s mapping business,Reuters reports.
Back in May, Uber was reportedly bidding on Here for as much as $US3 billion.
Here is a hot commodity. Nokia’s Berlin-based mapping business accounts for $US1.1 billion in yearly revenue, or just less than 8% of Nokia’s 2014 total sales. When it comes to built-in navigation systems, Here has 80 per cent global market share.
It’s a significant business, and the main rival to Google Maps when it comes to mapping units. Analysts say it could be worth between $US2.2 and $US4.4 billion.
Sources previously said Uber, Chinese search engine Baidu, and private equity firm Apax had banded together to bid on Here. Theoretically, Uber could do several things with new mapping technology.
Nokia’s mapping product would let Uber replace its current mapping technology — a mix of maps from Apple, Baidu, and Google — with its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business.
Uber could also use Here to develop the self-driving cars it’s reportedly been working on in Pittsburgh. Nokia’s mapping technology could also further Uber’s attempts at expanding the company into a delivery and logistics business, starting with UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service.
But according to a new story from Reuters, Uber is no longer bidding on Here. (Uber declined to comment on Reuters’ report.)
So who could buy Here now that Uber’s not bidding on it?
German automakers! In May, BMW, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Audi banded together to launch a formal bid to buy Here. Now that Uber — with its massive war chest of $US5.9 billion in funding — is out of the running, there’s less pressure to bid high on Here.
Car makers want to get their hands on Here’s technology so they can develop their own self-driving cars. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi already use Here, but buying the business would give them an edge over tech companies working to develop their own autonomous cars.
Though Uber rarely buys companies, two of its most recent acquisitions have been maps-related. Uber acquired part of Microsoft Bing’s mapping technology at the end of June, including 100 of its engineers. In addition to losing roughly 100 data-collection engineers, Microsoft has also sold other assets to Uber, which includes a data site near Boulder, Colorado, plus intellectual property, cameras, and software. And in March, Uber acquired mapping startup deCarta for an undisclosed sum.