Nokia chiefs prefer German auto makers as HERE buyers

Nokia bosses continued to court a consortium of German car makers over a sale of its HERE navigation business, as a deadline for bids reportedly passed.

The only stumbling block to a sale of HERE to a consortium comprising Audi, BMW and Daimler is the €4 billion ($4.5 billion) price tag Nokia has reportedly placed on the navigation business, Bloomberg reported, adding that a deadline for bidders passed yesterday (Jun.18).

Baidu, China's largest search engine, is considering whether to join the German car makers' bid for HERE, after its partners pulled out of a separate consortium. The Chinese company previously teamed with private equity company Apax Partners and taxi-service app provider Uber to table a bid, Bloomberg reported, adding that several other private equity companies had also pulled out in the two months since Nokia announced it was conducting a strategic review of its navigation business.

The news agency noted that Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri this week reiterated that a sale of HERE is just one option the company is considering as part of that review--a fact made clear in Nokia's original announcement regarding the business.

Even if the Finnish company accepts an offer from Audi, BMW and Daimler, it does not guarantee a sale will proceed. Instead, the trio's bid would form the basis for negotiations for a binding offer, Reuters explained.

Both news outlets linked a potential sale of HERE to Nokia's ambition to merge its networks business with Alcatel-Lucent in a proposed €15.6 billion deal.

The reports on HERE bids came in the same week that Nokia confirmed LG Electronics as the first major smartphone customer for a brand licensing programme offered by its Nokia Technologies division.

Nokia previously launched the N1, a reference design for an Android tablet that is due to be branded and manufactured by Taiwanese company Foxconn, but stated clearly that the licensing programme does not mark a desire to return to device manufacturing.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg HERE article
- view this Reuters report
- read Nokia's original HERE statement
- see the company's LG Electronics announcement

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