A lot of shareholders in Navteq (NVT) have left the building and pocketed gains in the wake of Nokia’s cash bid of $78 per share for the company. This is clearly going to be one of the most influential deals of the year, but I’m left questioning whether Nokia’s $78 per share offer will be the ultimate end result here.
The decline in shares of GPS maker Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) in the wake of the deal is perhaps pointing the way forward for a potential bidding war. Although Nokia clearly has more resources in the fight to win Navteq, Garmin is certainly feeling the heat for not making a bid for Navteq, and they may well be forced to rethink their strategy and take a stab a Navteq. While Garmin is going to be hard pressed to make a higher bid for Navteq due to its smaller size, it certainly is not inconceivable for the company to issue stock for the deal (which would likely be preferable for Garmin due to its premium valuation). Given the fact that the acquisition of NVT by Nokia poses a substantial long term threat to Garmin’s business model, it certainly isn’t out of the question that Garmin could muster all their financial strength to challenge the Nokia deal.
As well, it is possible that another bidder could enter the fray and sweeten the deal. Past rumors have mentioned Google and Microsoft as potential acquirers, and although I think these are certainly long-shots, the possibility is still there.
Overall, Navteq’s shares represent and interesting conservative opportunity over the next few months. With the stock currently trading below $76, the stock is trading at about a 3% discount to Nokia’s offer. Given that the bid is an all-cash offer and Nokia has plenty of cash on hand, the deal is virtually assured, and should close in the first quarter of 2008. Therefore, Navteq shares are offering a 6% annualized return with very little risk, as well as a substantial potential upside should Nokia’s bid be challenged by likes of Garmin, Google, or another suitor.
At the very least, Navteq shares certainly look more attractive than any other short-term money market investment, and the potential upside leads me to believe that this is an attractive risk/reward. With a 6% annualized return virtually risk-free, Navteq looks like a nice place to stash some extra cash over the next few months. With that in mind, I’ve bought a moderate position in the stock at $75.79, and I’m content to sit on my hands over the next few months and wait to see if anything develops.
Disclosure: Author is long NVT