Chicago tech has already trumped last week’s $1.8 billion-dollar acquisition. And boy, is it a doozy.
Today, a league of Germany’s most recognizable car companies (BMW, Audi, and Daimler) acquired Chicago-based Nokia subsidiary HERE (formerly Navteq) for $3.1 billion.
The European carmakers beat out a host of A-list Silicon Valley tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Uber as industry leaders compete to lead the innovation behind the cars of tomorrow. Today’s official announcement comes after months of yo-yoed speculation and rumors surrounding the transaction.
Headquartered in Berlin but with significant presence in the Windy City, HERE’s software not only enables digital mapping functionality but will also likely help automakers usher in the next generation of self-driving cars.
BMW, Audi, and Daimler lead the pack globally in terms of the number of luxury cars produced each year. Each company will hold equal stake in HERE.
And — according to insights from the Wall Street Journal — the car makers were anxious that HERE’s technology would be snatched up by a Californian tech juggernaut, which would effectively exclude car companies from the table when it comes to developing and equipping information systems inside the car.
“High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future. With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries,” Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG said in a statement.
The transaction is scheduled to be finalized in Q1 of 2016.
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