It's no secret that Nokia has been looking to offload their Here Maps division in recent months, allegedly receiving bids from all sorts of companies including Uber, Facebook, Apple and Samsung. However it now seems that the bidding period is over, with Nokia choosing to sell Here Maps to the big three German auto companies: Audi, BMW and Daimler.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Nokia never really considered bids from other companies, working exclusively with the three auto companies over the sale of Here Maps. In the end, the three companies will purchase the entirety of Here Maps for a total of $2.71 billion, with a deal set to be officially signed in the next few days.

With Here Maps under their belt, Audi, BMW and Daimler will invite other automakers to take stakes in the company. Rather than exclusively using Here Maps in their vehicles, the auto companies want to create a mapping platform that's available to anyone; a smart move considering the importance of mapping data in self-driving cars.

Here Maps data will continue to be licensed to a number of third parties, including Samsung, Yahoo, Microsoft (and Bing Maps), Amazon, and Garmin. It is generally seen as one of the strongest competitors to Google's mapping platform, which is also being harnessed for self-driving cars including Google's very own line.

Nokia has offloaded Here Maps to focus on work in the telecommunications space, with the company also eyeing off a return to the smartphone market in a few years' time.