Mobile GPS: At The Next Left, Hope For Anti-Trust Clearance

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is keeping quiet and corporate on its chances of winning European Commission clearance for its $8.1 billion acquisition of GPS map-maker Navteq, but TomTom sources are going public with concessions it’s offering to secure its TeleAtlas purchase…

Nokia: Nokia internet head Niklas Savander told a Helsinki news conference (via Reuters): “We are very confident it will happen. There is very constructive dialogue going on with the regulator.” That’s code for negotiation. Though announced in October, the EC pulled in the proposed purchase a fortnight ago for an in-depth probe after finding anti-trust risks. A ruling is due by August 8.

TomTom: The Nokia deal doubled competition concerns the EC already felt following TomTom’s proposed $4.6 billion acquisition of its map maker TeleAtla, which it began probing in November. “Sources” tell Thomson TomTom is prepared to license TeleAtlas’ maps to competitors in order to win the green light. Its deadline to make such concessions expired overnight and the EC is expected to rule on May 21.

Why does this matter in the mobile space? Because location-based services could be big business. Nokia’s Savander on the rationale for Navteq: “This is a major disruptive business opportunity to us. First of all to take the business away from personal navigation device makers, but more importantly there is the opportunity in contextual web.”