Today Nokia announced it is buying Navteq for 8.1 Billion dollars. It is the largest acquisition Nokia (Market cap of 148 B$) has made till date .It also showcases that Nokia is very serious about its foray into service space and Location Services in particular.
Navteq with stock price of 78$ is trading at 53 P/E which is huge Compared to even Goggles 49 P/E, Navteq is priced quite high .so why did Nokia which is considered to be conservative company when it comes to acquisitions made this gamble answer according to me lies in 2 factors 1) Its clearly sees Location Based Services as huge opportunity 2) Most importantly it thinks with its ability to sell huge volumes of devices, is in unique position to exploit Navteq and hence justifies the huge premium .
Nokia would like to provide navigation and other location based services in its mobile device both as a way to differentiate from other mobile vendors and also as way to drive separate service revenue stream. Today Nokia already provides navigation services in its high end model like N95 but going further it would like to roll out these kinds of services in most of its mid-high end devices, which basically means that these services need to be made available in hundreds of millions of devices (125-200 million devices annually i.e. 50 % Nokia annual device sales).These numbers are huge compared to approx 30 million standalone navigation devices sold today. The key take way from these numbers is that the volumes and hence opportunity provided by embedded LBS in Mobile devices is very huge and hence its ability to change the present value chain of LBS segment.
Today Navteq and Teleatlas provide maps for all the navigation and map service providers starting from Tom Tom, Garmin (Navigation Device vendors) to Google, Yahoo, Mapinfo (Web Map service providers) .These 2 players not only provide maps to all players but also capture significant chunk of Value chain .TeleAtlas was bought by Tom Tom for 2 billon dollars recently so leaving Navteq as only independent map vendor but Nokia buy this acquisition not only made sure they get maps supply for its planned services in millions of device but also control the most important part of the LBS Value chain .Nokia last year made a deal with Trimble to get exclusive rights for Trembles GPS patent portfolio coupled with Gate 5 (Navigation SW maker ) acquisition gives Nokia all the pieces it requires to rollout LBS services in volumes at most cost effective way .
So it looks like Navteq is great strategic fit for Nokia but weather 8.1B$ is bargain or blunder would be determined by both Nokias ability to roll out LBS services in volumes and also most importantly consumers appetite and willingness to pay for such services.