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TomTom bids €1.8bn for map provider

Where maps meet social networking?

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TomTom has put a €1.8bn cash bid on the table for Tele Atlas, the company that supplies map data to the sat nav firm's 10 million GPS devices.

The idea is that social-networking type information can be integrated into the mapping data to create a more dynamic service for TomTom users.

TomTom chief executive officer Harold Goddijn said: "By integrating customer feedback into the Tele Atlas map manufacturing process, we will be able to considerably enhance the user experience and further increase all Tele Atlas and all TomTom's customers' satisfaction."

So, supposedly, next time your GPS directs you into a river, you'll be able to do more than shout at it.

Tele Atlas also supplies data to rival Garmin, a relationship that apparently won't be affected by the purchase.

The purchase will be funded by €1.6bn in new debt, with the rest coming from TomTom's extensive cash reserves. The board of Tele Atlas has announced its support for the move. ®

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