STOCKHOLM, Finland – Nokia Corp.(NOK) is buying U.S. navigation-software maker Navteq Corp.(NVT) for around $8.1 billion as the world's largest mobile phone maker continues to expand services and content.
Under the agreement approved by the boards of both companies, Nokia will pay $78 in cash for each Navteq share, including outstanding options, Nokia said Monday.
Chicago-based Navteq maintains digital maps which it licenses to global positioning systems and Web sites. Founded in 1985, it has around 3,000 employees in 168 offices in 30 countries.
Nokia said Navteq would continue to support its existing customers as before — with the Navteq map data business continuing to operate independently — but that it would be organized as a Nokia group company.
Nokia's President and Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said "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."
Helsinki-based Nokia has made several acquisitions to expand Internet services. The company announced last month that it would buy Enpocket, a U.S.-based mobile advertising company, and last year acquired Loudeye Corp. to expand its digital music offerings.
In a push to challenge rivals, including Apple Inc.'s iTunes and iPod, Nokia unveiled new Internet services and gadgets this year to help customers download music and to play games on mobile handsets.
Kallasvuo added that by acquiring Navteq, Nokia "will be able to bring context and geographical information to a number of our Internet services with accelerated time to market."
Jari Honko, an analyst at eQ Bank in Helsinki, said Nokia is "extremely driven" in its strategy to move into mobile services and called Navteq "the most significant player in its field."
"It makes a lot of sense," he said. "This is one of the areas that should become extremely important in the future. ... Nokia could very well build one of its core services around it."
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter in 2008. It will be financed through a combination of cash and debt.
Nokia said it expects the acquisition to dilute its earnings in 2008 and 2009, but that it will not impact share buybacks under the current mandate, or future dividends and share buybacks.
In the long term, Honko said the deal was "brilliant," but said that in the short term, "investors might worry about the diluted earnings."
Navteq shares fell 98 cents to $76.99 Monday, while Nokia fell 81 cents to $37.12.