By Sarah Sloat

Internet services group Tencent Holdings Ltd., NavInfo Co. and Singaporean fund GIC plan to buy a joint 10% stake in digital mapping company HERE from Germany's premium car makers, HERE said on Tuesday.

The companies didn't disclose a price. As part of the deal, HERE plans to create a joint venture with Chinese mapping company NavInfo, extending its services to China using NavInfo's data. Tencent, also based in China, will look into using HERE's mapping and location platform services in its own products and services, HERE said.

The German car makers that own HERE -- Daimler AG, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi AG unit -- bought the mapping company from Nokia Corp. last year for roughly 2.5 billion euros ($2.6 billion), aiming to build a platform for autonomous cars that would compete with Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

Digital maps will be essential for self-driving cars, which require precise, up-to-date information about a vehicle's surroundings. HERE's services include maps for nearly 200 countries alongside other data, which it provides to the makers of navigation devices and cars as well as websites and apps.

"We...welcome NavInfo and Tencent both as strategic investors who share our vision of the future and as partners with whom we will create attractive new services for the Chinese market," HERE Chief Executive Edzard Overbeek said. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is a financial investor, he said.

The car makers began approaching potential partners soon after buying HERE in mid-2015, and over the past months have said they were in talks with numerous investors to broaden the shareholder base, including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and other auto makers. HERE wasn't immediately available for further comment.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the first half of 2017.

Write to Sarah Sloat at sarah.sloat@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2016 07:48 ET (12:48 GMT)

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