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TomTom makes new offer for Tele Atlas, tops Garmin

Posted: 09 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital maps? navigation devices? GPS?

Upping the ante in what has become a bloody bidding war for Dutch digital map provider Tele Atlas NV, navigation solutions firm TomTom NV Nov. 7 raised its bid for Tele Atlas' outstanding shares from $31 to approximately $44 in cash per share. The new offer puts the value of Tele Atlas at roughly $4.3 billion, up from TomTom's initial bid of $2.8 billion. More significantly, it also topped Garmin Ltd's more recent offer of $35 per share, or an aggregate of around $3 billion for all outstanding shares.

In a statement, Tele Atlas said it will review the terms and conditions of the new offer and will inform the market on further steps as soon as reasonably possible.

With its only competitor, Navteq, now in the process of being annexed by handset giant Nokia, Tele Atlas has become a hot acquisition target for GPS suppliers TomTom and Garmin.

Market analyst iSuppli speculates that if TomTom succeeds in acquiring Tele Atlas, it could become one of only two key GPS map makers in the market, which could then make it a likely target for acquisition by behemoth Microsoft.

On the other hand, U.S.-based Garmin, a Navteq customer, could end up dependent on maps supplied by competitors if it loses Tele Atlas to TomTom. The company's stock had skyrocketed after its unsolicited bid for Tele Atlas was made public Oct. 31, but slid again following TomTom's latest counteroffer.

iSuppli estimates the current market for portable navigation devices at $4.2 billion, and sees it growing to $12.8 billion by 2010.

- Christine Telesforo
EE Times-Asia

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