SanomaWSOY's subsidiary Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö (WSOY) has agreed to acquire the Tamro Group's 80.1% holding of shares in Karttakeskus Oy for FIM 20.3 million. The acquisition is to be closed by September 15. Following the transaction, US-based MapInfo Corporation will hold 19.9% of Karttakeskus' shares.

WSOY and minority shareholder MapInfo Corporation have agreed that Karttakeskus and WSOY's subsidiary Geodata Oy will be merged as rapidly as possible, to create a technologically and financially strong leading player in the location information field. The main focus of the merged operation will be on mobile and Internet location solutions, and MapInfo will act as preferred spatial software vendor.

The location information business is a strategically interesting area for SanomaWSOY, not only because of its global growth potential, but also because it offers application potential for the Group's other businesses, particularly those focused on digital content.

"Our acquisition of Karttakeskus strengthens our location information know-how and our role as a content provider for mobile and fixed networks, both in Finland and internationally," according to Tuomo Räsänen, Senior Vice President, Special Publishing at WSOY. "The international market for mobile location information-based applications is expected to grow significantly in the near future. Within two years, 60% to 70% of the world's mobile phone users are projected to use navigation services. With the massive growth in the use of mobile phones, the demand for various type of navigation services, such as maps, route itineraries, and checklists of such things as nearest outlets is expected to grow into a multi-billion FIM business in Europe alone."

Karttakeskus is Finland's leading map company, with activities covering map publishing, map production-related services, map data-based software solutions, and mobile navigation service development. In spring 2000, the company announced one of the world's first WAP map services. The company has net sales of some FIM 50 million a year and employs 94 people.

The focus of WSOY map and location services subsidiary Geodata Oy recently has been on developing and producing mobile personal navigation and Internet applications. As part of this, Geodata has signed location data use agreements with a number of international organisations, such as TeleAtlas, AND Data Solutions, C-MAP, and IGN. Geodata has annual net sales of some FIM 20 million employs some 30 people.

A global company and technology leader, MapInfo Corporation ( provides business intelligence solutions designed to help organisations better understand their markets and customers. MapInfo solutions are available in 21 languages through a network of strategic partners and distribution channels in 58 countries. The company is headquartered in Troy, NY and has annual net sales of some USD 75 million.