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Apple Renews Maps Agreement With TomTom, Will It Buy The Company?
Deal comes against backdrop of potential HERE Maps sale for billions.
Reuters reported this afternoon that publicly traded TomTom is up on news that its mapping-data contract with Apple has been renewed. Rival HERE (Nokia) is currently for sale and may fetch as much as $4 billion dollars.
There aren’t many global mapping data vendors available; and there’s a great deal of interest if not competitive bidding for Nokia’s HERE. Identified and rumored bidders include Uber, Baidu, Microsoft, German automakers, private equity and others. Any of these players could turn around, if unsuccessful with HERE, and try to buy TomTom.
The company offers a range of mobile and in-car navigation and mapping products.
Yesterday TomTom was worth less than $2 billion. Today on news of the Apple renewal the company’s value has risen to $2.1 billion. Still that’s half of what HERE will probably bring in for Nokia.
This weekend Apple confirmed acquisition of a company called Coherent Navigation, which offers more precise GPS location by combining signals from higher and lower orbit satellites. If I were Apple I might take a hard look at TomTom, given how strategic mapping and location data have become and how few remaining companies could match it globally.