Vodafone bids £20m for SatNav firm


Vodafone has made a public offer of £20 million for Swedish navigation company Wayfinder.

Wayfinder offers a range of mobile location-based services as well as in-car navigation. It claims a global user base of two million. It has recommended that its shareholders accept Vodafone’s offer.

Vodafone internet services director Pieter Knook said: “We believe our customers will greatly value being able to get accurate voice directions from their mobiles.

“Wayfinder’s exceptional expertise in this space and technology capabilities will enable Vodafone to develop a suite of exciting new location-aware products and services. These services are set to deliver a more personalised mobile internet experience by using the customer’s location if they are happy to reveal it.”

IDC senior analyst Jonathan Arber responded: “This is a somewhat surprising move given the current economic climate, and Vodafone’s stated focus on cost control and growth from core assets.

“That being said, we believe there is still considerable growth in the mobile navigation space, and many of the most attractive acquisition targets are rapidly being snapped up. As such we would expect a minor flurry of similar acquisitions to follow in the coming 6-12 months, as operators and other players seek to strengthen their position.”

The offer becomes active January 9 and Vodafone hope to complete the deal and offer the services as soon as possible.