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Chinese investors buy stake in mapping firm HERE

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Chinese mapping firm NavInfo <002405.SZ>, web group Tencent <0700.HK> and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC are shopping for a 10 % stake in digital maps firm HERE, the newest in a string of Chinese acquisitions in Europe.

Germany carmakers Audi , BMW and Daimler purchased HERE from Nokia for two.55 billion euros ($2.6 billion) final yr to create an alternate digital mapping enterprise to Google .

Under the deal introduced on Tuesday, the carmakers will scale back their mixed possession of HERE by 10 %, HERE and the consumers stated in a press release.

They didn’t disclose monetary particulars of the deal, which they anticipate to shut in the primary half of 2017.

Intelligent mapping techniques are seen as a key for self-driving automobiles, that are outfitted with street-scanning sensors to measure visitors and street circumstances. The real-time knowledge gathered can in flip be shared with different map customers.

Nokia purchased the corporate at a time when drivers have been beginning to change from navigation units akin to these made by Garmin and TomTom to utilizing smartphones to offer instructions. Nokia bought it to the German carmakers final yr to concentrate on its telecoms gear enterprise.

HERE had been aiming to seek out new companions by the top of the yr and was in discussions with dozens of attainable investors, together with , Microsoft and Bosch [ROBG.UL].

HERE stated it’s going to now type a three way partnership with NavInfo to increase its merchandise to China utilizing NavInfo’s knowledge and providers.

Tencent will use HERE’s mapping and site platform providers in its personal merchandise, each in China and internationally.

The deal comes after a string of high-profile takeover approaches in Europe, notably in Germany, although Chinese overtures haven’t all the time been welcome.

Home equipment maker Midea <000333.SZ> purchased industrial robotic firm Kuka in a four.5 billion euro deal in May, in what was the most important Chinese deal for a German industrial know-how firm.

China’s Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund withdrew a 670 million euro bid for chip gear maker Aixtron this month after the United States blocked the acquisition of its U.S. division on nationwide safety grounds and German authorities withdrew their approval.

Germany and China have turn into concerned in an more and more public dispute about entry to every others’ markets, with China complaining about unfair scrutiny of its acquisition targets in Germany, and Germany wanting a extra degree playing-field for its companies in the world’s second-largest financial system.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by David Clarke)

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