Report: Is TomTom being stalked by Apple?

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Shares in TomTom have risen sharply after an analyst at Rabobank International said Apple could be preparing a takeover bid. The thinking is that Apple could bid for TomTom to quickly improve its maligned Apple Maps service.

An analyst indicated Apple may bid for mapping firm TomTom. 

The Rabobank analyst, Hans Slob, wrote in a research note there is a 30 per cent chance Apple will make an approach because TomTom has the ability to quickly rectify any mapping errors or develop new functions.

The Dutch navigation app developer has seen its share price climb 7.2 per cent to €4.12, the biggest intraday jump since Oct. 19, according to Bloomberg. Amsterdam-based TomTom is now valued at €906 million after its shares gained 33 per cent this year.

"TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom," Slob said, according to Bloomberg. Slob estimated Apple would pay a price of as much as €10 per share for the software developer. A takeover is also a "royal way out" for the Dutch company's founders, said Slob, who has a buy recommendation on TomTom and raised his share-price estimate by 38 per cent to €5.

Criticism of Apple's latest mapping software continues around the world, with its capabilities being mocked for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and a lack of public transport directions. Earlier this week Apple corrected an error on its maps that sent people off course in Australia.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told BusinessWeek that Apple is "putting all of our energy into making [Maps] right. And we have already had several software updates. We've got a huge plan to make it even better. It will get better and better over time."

However, TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn said in October that he plans to keep the company independent after rumours emerged that the founders may take it private with outside financing.

Last month, TomTom released an updated version of its navigation app that better suits the screen of the iPhone 5 and latest iPod touch. Version 1.12 of TomTom Navigation for iPhone and iPad now works Apple's iOS 6, and can display maps on the iPhone 5's larger 4-inch screen, according to Pocket-Lint.

 

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Pocket-Lint article

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