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Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced that they are set to acquire Nokia Corporation’s Here mapping and location services business. The deal, which is reported to be €2.8 billion (RM11.8 billion), brings to an end months of speculation – in May, the consortium was said to be making a bid for the Finnish company’s mapping division.

The automotive trio stated via a statement that the acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of Here’s products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors.

The three partners will each hold an equal stake in Here, with none of them seeking to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

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The automakers add that the acquisition will lay the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location based services, and provide the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately aid in fully autonomous driving.

Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services. On the basis of the shared raw data, all automobile manufacturers can offer their customers differentiated and brand-specific services.

Here provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services. It was stated that the company will continue have an independent management and to develop its position as an independent provider of maps and location-based services.