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Without Uber, Nokia and German carmakers see who will blink first over Here

According to Reuters, Uber is out of the race for Nokia's Here business, taking the pressure off Germany's car industry to pay a premium.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

A consortium of German carmakers may be the only serious contender left in the contest to acquire Nokia's Here mapping unit.

According to Reuters' sources, BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen, which owns Audi, have reached a standoff over the group's potential purchase of Here. The sticking point is apparently the price of the acquisition and how the assets will be structured.

A rumoured bidding war between Silicon Valley heavyweights like Uber and Germany's high-end auto industry had pushed analyst estimates of the potential value of Here to between €2bn and €4bn ($2.2bn and $4.4bn) earlier this year.

However, according to Reuters, with rival offers falling away - Uber has reportedly dropped out of the race for Here - German carmakers are under less pressure to pay top dollar for Nokia's mapping assets.

Uber and Baidu, backed by Apax, were reportedly teaming up on a joint bid for Here. Uber was also said to have already made a $3bn offer to Nokia, while Baidu was considering joining the car manufacturers' bid.

Meanwhile, the manufacturers - the majority of which rely Nokia's maps for in-dash systems in new vehicles - would be keen on owning Here to secure a path towards developing their own self-driving vehicles. Nokia has a number of automated driving projects on the boil and is in the process of developing high definition maps across the world.

Nokia began its review of Here in April alongside announcing its proposed €15.6bn takeover of French networking rival Alcatel-Lucent - a deal that US regulators gave their approval to in June and EU regulators are set to rule on by July 27. The theory is that Here had less value to Nokia after it sold its devices business to Microsoft.

The Finnish company has said it was open to selling the mapping business but only if it reached the right price.

A Nokia spokesperson declined to comment on the strategic review.

Financial sources told Reuters that members of different consortia remain in flux while others simply want to "join the winning bid", whatever its makeup.

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