Apple could make bid for map firm TomTom, analyst says

A Netherlands-based analyst says there's a 30 percent chance that Apple will attempt to acquire the GPS and mapping company.

Apple could make a bid for GPS and mapping company TomTom, according to an analyst.

In a note to investors today, Hans Slob, a Netherlands-based analyst at Rabobank International, said he believes there's a 30 percent chance of Apple offering to acquire TomTom. The move, he said, would be designed to quickly handle any troubles Apple could be facing with its Maps iOS application.

"TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom," Slob said, according to Bloomberg, which was first to report on the story.

It's not clear if Slob was simply making a bold prediction or has some knowledge of Apple's plans.

Apple's Maps application was hit hard earlier this year when it launched in iOS 6. The application, which is a replacement for Google Maps in iOS, was criticized for a wide array of flaws, including inaccurate information. Apple quickly apologized for the issue and said that it would improve the program in the coming months .

If Apple decided to acquire a mapping company to help it improve Maps, TomTom wouldn't be such a bad choice: the company is one of the main providers of mapping data for Apple's Maps, along with Waze, Yelp, and NASA.

Exactly how much Apple would be willing to pay for TomTom, however, is unknown. The company's shares today closed at 4.06 euros ($5.32), pushing its market capitalization -- a measure of the value of a public company -- to 900.9 million euros ($1.18 billion). In other words, even if Apple pays a premium to acquire TomTom, the iPhone maker probably won't even notice a dent in its more than $100 billion in cash on hand.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the analyst report. We will update this story when we have more information.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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