After months of speculation, including the possibility of Uber, Baidu and Facebook being potential buyers, Nokia have announced that they are selling their HERE Maps business to BMW, Daimler and Audi for €2.8 billion ($3.1 billion). The three German carmakers will hold an equal stake in the business and none of them will seek to own a majority.
The sale comes on the back of a strong quarter for HERE, having reported a 25% year-on-year revenue growth to €290 million, as well as growing its operating margin for the second quarter to 9.3%.
One likely reason for the sale is to help finance their own purchase of Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) , with this planned combination being the focus of Nokia going forward.
As for why HERE was so highly coveted, there are limited mapping technologies as comprehensive as HERE, and they're extremely expensive (and difficult) to build from scratch, making a purchase of an existing technology very attractive for those looking to add value to their products through mapping data, with more and more businesses now relying on a variety of location-based services to power their websites or run their applications.
The sale of HERE is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.