Nokia is selling its maps business to three of the world's top automakers. The Wall Street Journal reports that after several weeks of negotiations, Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG — the parent company of Mercedes — have "agreed in principle" to purchase the entirety of Nokia's Here Maps. The exact purchase price isn't yet known, but is reported to be "slightly more than" €2.5 billion (or $2.71 billion USD). Uber was also at one point said to be interested in Here Maps, but apparently bowed out of the bidding process weeks ago.
According to the Journal, the trio of carmakers won't be keeping Here Maps to themselves. Assuming the sale goes as planned, Audi, BMW, and Daimler plan to invite other automotive companies to buy a stake in the business. That would give all major vehicle manufacturers an alternative to Google Maps or traditional navigation solutions like TomTom, and allow them to bake Here Maps into their own infotainment systems.
Buying an existing product is far easier than building a mapping platform from scratch, and that convenience is seen as the major draw for the automakers. The Journal says the technology could also be implemented as these companies experiment with self-driving cars. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said the deal could be finalized and signed "within a few days."