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German carmakers win US antitrust approval to buy Nokia maps

[WASHINGTON] German carmakers BMW , Audi and Mercedes have won US antitrust approval to buy Nokia's maps business for around 2.5 billion euros (US$2.8 billion), the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

The deal, which was announced in early August, was on the FTC's list of uncontroversial transactions which won approval from the FTC or the Justice Department. The two agencies share the work of antitrust enforcement.

Germany's three premium carmakers will hold equal stakes in the business, known as HERE, and may allow automakers to offer new premium features, like autonomous driving, in luxury cars, shaking up the pecking order between car makers, their parts suppliers and software rivals like Uber and Google.

HERE's primary competitor is Google Maps. In addition, it competes with smaller Dutch mapping firm TomTom. HERE was created by Nokia following the US$8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq in 2008.