* CEO says rationale for Tele Atlas buy still stands
* Sees 2009 gross margin in line with 2008
AMSTERDAM, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Dutch navigation device maker TomTom TOM2.AS has no regrets about the 2.9 billion euro ($3.7 billion) acquisition of digital map maker Tele Atlas, on which it wrote down 1 billion euros, its chief executive said.
“The rationale behind the acquisition still stands. We would like to have had a bit more time the implement our strategy, but it still stands,” CEO Harold Goddijn told Reuters in an interview.
TomTom reported a 989 million euro ($1.3 billion) net loss on Tuesday, citing a writedown on its Tele Atlas acquisition, and said it was considering renegotiating terms of the debt that it had taken on to buy Tele Atlas. [nLN724339]
The maker of portable navigation devices for cars bought Tele Atlas last year after its main rival, U.S. market leader Garmin GRMN.O, drove the price up in a bidding war.
“We had to pay what we had to pay for Tele Atlas,” Goddijn said.
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde)
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