Nokia is aiming to pressure the bidders to increase their offer by continuing to entertain offers from others, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The maker of telecommunications equipment, favors selling its maps business to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, although price differences remain, according to people familiar with the matter.
The carmakers, who are key clients for the technology and first approached the Finnish company about a sale, may hesitate to pay the as much as $4 billion being sought for the unit, known as HERE, the sources said.
Nokia is seeking to sell the mapping unit as it focuses on mobile-network equipment. It agreed to buy Alcatel-Lucent in April to create the world’s largest supplier of the equipment. The company may still decide not to sell HERE, CEO Rajeev Suri told France’s National Assembly this week. The potential valuation of as much as $4 billion suggests Nokia’s mapping assets have lost much of their value since 2008, when the company spent $8.1 billion to buy map provider Navteq.
A spokeswoman for Nokia declined to comment. Representatives for Audi, Daimler, Apax and Baidu declined to comment. BMW couldn’t be immediately reached by email outside of regular business hours.