Israeli news claims Facebook and Waze are in final talks for US$1bn takeover

9 May 2013

Just over a year after it was announced that Facebook would shell out US$1bn for photo-sharing app Instagram, the social network is apparently gearing up for a second billion-dollar acquisition – this time with its sights set on Israeli driving community start-up Waze Mobile.

The award-winning Waze app allows users with GPS-enabled smartphones to contribute to its maps, fostering a community of drivers that keep each other up to date with what’s happening on the road. The Waze user base has grown rapidly in the past year and Israeli daily newspaper Calcalist claims it currently has 45m users.

Calcalist also reports (in Hebrew) that an acquisition deal between Waze and Facebook worth US$800m to US$1bn is at an advanced stage of completion, as does Ynet and The Marker.

Just more than a year ago, it was reported that Facebook had snapped up Instagram for US$1bn, but this acquisition was later revealed to be worth US$715m. Negotiations to buy Waze are said to have started six months ago, and The Marker reports that the acquisition will be paid for partly in cash and the rest in shares.

Other Israel-based apps bought up by Facebook include Snaptu, which was picked up for an estimated US$60m-US$70m last March, and in June for about US$80m-US$100m.

Earlier this year, it was thought that Apple would be the tech giant to snap up the start-up, but it turns out the iPhone maker was happy just to have the company contribute to its crowdsourced mapping data for Apple Maps.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.