Calcalist, an Israeli business publication published in Hebrew, is reporting that Facebook is in talks to buy Waze for $1 billion. Waze, also based in Israel, offers a navigation app that integrates crowdsourced data.
CNET’s Lance Whitney reported, “Facebook may be aiming to spend anywhere from $800 million to $1 billion to acquire Waze, an Israel-based company that offers a socially informed GPS app for drivers. Talks reportedly kicked off six months ago, according to Israeli business-news site Calcalist, which says that due diligence is currently under way. This would mean that the two companies are checking each other out before signing on the dotted line. The two also have signed a term sheet, or an agreement in principle on the sale, according to Calcalist.”
TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden added, “We have been digging too and have picked up confirmation from a source that both sides have privately confirmed that the deal is happening, and that the pricing reported first by the Calcalist is accurate. The main issue right now, the source said, is whether to keep Waze in Israel or take it to the U.S., as Facebook did with two previous Israel acquisitions. Those were of feature phone interface developer Snaptu (bought for up to $70 million in March 2011) and facial recognition specialist Face.com (bought in June 2012 for $50-60 million).”
The Telegraph’s Joel Gunter noted, “Waze – which has around 44 million users, 12 million of which are in the US – shares satellite positioning data from its users’ smartphones with other users, generating real-time traffic maps. The app has already incorporated Facebook, allowing users to share journey information with friends.”
ZDNET’s David Shamah recalled that Apple previously held acquisition talks with Waze. He wrote, “According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity, there is a substantial difference between the Facebook talks and those held when there was a possibility that Apple was going to buy Waze. ‘You could term the interaction between Waze and Apple as a series of ‘dates,’ whereas this seems more like an ‘engagement.’ The deal makes a lot of sense for Facebook, and of course Waze would be getting a lot more money.'”