By Michele Howe
Mobile phone giant strengthens location-based services offering with digital mapmaker purchase.
Nokia said yesterday it is to acquire digital mapmaker Navteq for approximately $8.1 billion.
The world's largest mobile phone maker said the purchase, one of its biggest ever, will help it to reinforce its position in the internet services arena.
"Location based services are one of the cornerstones of Nokia's internet services strategy. The acquisition of Navteq is another step toward Nokia becoming a leading player in this space," said Nokia president and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
"By joining forces with Navteq, we will be able to bring context and geographical information to a number of internet services with accelerated time to market," he added.
Founded in 1985, US-based Navteq is a provider of digital map information for navigation systems including mobile navigation devices. The company turned over $582 million in 2006 and has approximately 3,000 staff in 30 countries.
Nokia said Navteq's map data business will continue to operate independently, but will organisationally be classed as a Nokia group company after closure of the acquisition, slated for the first quarter of 2008.
The number of mapping and navigation mobile phone subscribers could exceed 42 million worldwide by 2012, market research firm In-Stat predicts.