HERE CEO in Talks With New Investors to Grow Beyond Carmakers

(Bloomberg) -- HERE Technologies, the digital mapping company controlled by BMW AG and other German carmakers, is seeking to add new investors to expand beyond the automotive sector.

Deliberations include adding a financial services firm as well as potential investors from other sectors, Chief Executive Officer Edzard Overbeek said in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. The company, which employs some 8,000 people, is also seeking to attract one or two more automakers.

“Vehicles will become mobile data centers,” Overbeek said. “But we see a lot of potential in other fields,” such as logistics services, while municipality authorities are showing increasing interest in data traffic flows to improve air quality.

HERE, which provides location data for navigation systems, was purchased in 2015 by BMW, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit from Nokia Oyj for 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion). Intel Corp. and German car-parts giants Continental AG and Robert Bosch GmbH have since joined the ownership group, opening up options in the so-called Internet of Things.

The rare cooperation between Germany car rivals was made to thwart Alphabet Inc.’s Google from seizing a dominant position in digital maps, a key technology for self-driving vehicles and future transportation services. HERE has since stepped up efforts to develop high-definition maps that allow precise navigation of autonomous cars.

HERE secured contracts this week to supply live traffic data for the entire product range of Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen’s Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini brands.

HERE, which acquired indoor mapping software company Micello in March, is not interested in taking over TomTom NV or buying some of its assets, Overbeek said. The Dutch competitor is in talks to sell its telematics operations and faced speculation about a potential sale last year.

“We’re happy with where we are,” HERE’s CEO said.

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