Baidu now backing Uber's bid for Nokia maps

Come HERE for $4 billion

Navteq vehicle in Oxford

Less than two weeks after Uber kicked off the bidding war for Nokia's HERE maps unit, the price has escalated and the rumoured alliances have shifted.

When the car-hire-app company's interest first emerged via the New York Times, the industry's deep throats reckoned Chinese Web outfit Baidu was bidding with the big three of Germany's car biz, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Now, Bloomberg's anonymous sources have Baidu and Uber linking arms, along with Apax Partners.

Bloomberg's “people with knowledge of the matter” reckon the key rival bid is now China's Tencent Holdings, NavInfo, and Swedish slurp-specialist EQT Partners.

The rumoured price has risen from US$3 billion to $4 billion, so Nokia will probably be keen to keep the bidding war open for as long as possible. The three German car-markers remain in the race, and the next round of bids is due in two weeks.

“Microsoft Corp. has offered to buy a minority stake, while three US private-equity firms – Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake Management and Thoma Bravo – are also in the running”, Bloomberg says.

Getting rid of HERE won't be ship-coming-in-time for Nokia, as it's more interested in bedding down its €15.6 billion acquisition of rival network kit-maker Alcatel-Lucent. But the cash will doubtless come in handy! ®


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