Facebook in talks to buy Israel's Waze for up to $1 billion: report

Thu May 9, 2013 2:30pm EDT
 
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TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is in advanced talks to acquire Israeli mobile satellite navigation start-up Waze for $800 million to $1 billion, business daily Calcalist reported on Thursday.

The deal, which would be Facebook's largest acquisition, would give the social networking company a mapping service and allow it to better compete with Google Inc and Apple Inc.

Maps and navigation services have become a key asset for technology companies as consumers increasingly adopt smartphones and other mobile devices.

Waze uses satellite signals from members' smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, which it then shares with other users, offering real-time traffic info.

Due diligence between Waze and Facebook is underway after a term sheet was signed, Calcalist said, adding that talks began six months ago.

Officials at Waze and Facebook declined to comment on the report.

Facebook's largest deal to date is the September acquisition of photo-sharing app, Instagram. Facebook agreed to buy the company for $1 billion in cash and stock, though the actual price it paid was $715 million due to declines in Facebook's share price.

The four-year-old Waze, which has 47 million users, has raised $67 million in funding to date from firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Blue Run Ventures and semiconductor company Qualcomm Inc.

"A lot of these companies want to own mapping services as opposed to licensing. The advantage is that you could personalize it to your business," said Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler.   Continued...

 
The Facebook logo is pictured in the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith