TomTom Given EC Clearance To Buy Tele Atlas

Vital verdict in the struggling giant's attempts to bolster profits.

TomTom just had some great news…

Today the European Commission has given the GPS giant unconditional clearance to acquire digital map maker Tele Atlas for a bid valued at €21.25 per share, totalling €1.8bn. The move had been questioned on grounds of anti-competitive behaviour, but had long been tipped to go through. US authorities gave the move the green light back in October 2007.

Under the deal TomTom hopes to “create new technologies for interactive map creation, enrichment and maintenance” and greatly expand its popular Map Share software which already has an installed user base of more than 20m members.

Interestingly, Tele Atlas currently provides its mapping software to a vast number of Sat Nav manufacturers (including TomTom) due to its progressive approach – most recently seen with the introduction of 3D Landmark and Landscape Enabled Maps (above). Will TomTom now will seek to make its Tele Atlas relationship exclusive? The idea is surely being considered, though it may be a caveat in the EC’s decision to approve the deal.

Naturally enough, this decision also bodes well for Nokia’s proposed purchase of NAVTEQ for €5.7bn as the GPS area undergoes some serious consolidation and globalisation. Expect standalone GPS systems to be something of a novelty/niche product within five years…

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