Nokia is exploring the possibility of selling off its HERE maps business as it wants to focus on its wireless network business according to sources. The move would help the Finnish company to improve its debt rating. Readers may recall that Nokia had sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in April last year.
Bloomberg reports that Nokia has already approached a few prospective buyers such as Uber Technologies that operates mobile app-based transportation, and other private companies. Sources say that German automakers such as Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen also seem interested in buying the app and the bidding may even begin this month.
Nokia’s HERE Maps business is currently valued at around €2 billion ($2.1 billion) which is much lower than the $8.1 billion the company paid to acquire it from US-based Navteq Corp. in 2008. It is said that if Nokia doesn’t get adequate price for its maps business, the company may not go ahead with the sale.
HERE Maps come pre-installed in the Microsoft Lumia phones that run Windows Phone OS. HERE Maps app for Android phones was released last year and it has already been downloaded by over 2.5 million users till date. Now the HERE Maps app is also downloadable in iOS since March this year. Besides Microsoft, Nokia’s maps division also provides data to other big companies such as Amazon, Yahoo and “four out of five car-navigation systems”.
According to the annual report, HERE Maps achieved full year sales of €970 million with an operating loss of €1.24 billion. The company expects the sales to grow further in 2015. Besides Maps and Networks, Nokia also has an R & D unit that looks after the patents licensing business.