Michelin North America buys map business

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Greenville-based tire maker, Michelin North America, and its French parent company have long published maps and atlases, as well as travel and restaurant guides, as a sideline to their main tire business.

Michelin’s map business grew recently when it acquired assets formerly owned by a Sarasota, Fla.-based map publisher called Streetwise Maps.

Streetwise, known for laminated, accordion-style maps geared for tourists, publishes more than 130 titles, including maps for 27 U.S. cities, according to a Michelin news release.

Michelin North America said the acquisition makes it the third-largest U.S. map publisher. Terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed.

Michael Brown, who founded Streetwise 30 years ago, said Michelin was the “clear choice” to uphold his company’s high standard because of the tire maker’s “undisputed legacy helping travelers navigate.”

Eileen Osteen, sales director for Michelin Travel Publications, said printed maps remain relevant in the digital age.

They are “the perfect planning tool, as you never have to worry about a good signal, roaming charges, or finding a detour for an alternative route,” she said in the news release.

Michelin said it would sell Streetwise-branded maps through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.

Lauren Davis, a Michelin North America spokesperson, said the company doesn’t plan any changes to Streetwise for now.

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