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TomTom, Garmin Positioned For Bidding War

London — The bidding war between Garmin and TomTom could start within the week as GPS map maker Tele Atlas gave TomTom five days to counter Garmin’s $3.3 billion bid for the map maker.

Garmin’s tender is about 15 percent higher than the one offered by TomTom earlier this year and has been deemed superior by Tele Atlas’ executives.

“If TomTom chooses not to match that superior proposal within the five business day period, Tele Atlas intends to terminate the TomTom Agreement,” Tele Atlas said.

TomTom touched off this race in July when it placed a 2 billion euro bid for Tele Atlas, one of only two GPS map makers, which was quickly followed by an $8 billion offer to buy Navteq, the other remaining map maker, by Nokia.

Maps are critical to the exploding personal navigation market (PND) market because they account for up to 20 percent of the wholesale cost of a PND said industry members and because “maps are the key ingredient that makes these devices work,” said Garmin.