Google Reportedly Set To Buy Hot Israeli Startup Waze

Google Reportedly Set To Buy Hot Israeli Startup Waze

(JTA) — Google will acquire the Israeli navigation company Waze for $1.3 billion, an Israeli business daily reported.

Neither Waze nor Google has confirmed the report by Globes. A later report by Bloomberg put the price at $1.1 billion.

Reports of the deal come less than two weeks after reports that talks between Waze and the social networking site Facebook reportedly broke down over Waze’s insistence that the company’s managers and employees remain in their Israeli headquarters in Raanana rather than relocating to Menlo Park, Calif.

Originally called Linqmap, Waze was founded in 2008 by Uri Levine, software engineer Ehud Shabtai, and Amir Shinar. Its investors include Microsoft, which owns 10 percent of the company.

Facebook also wanted to include in the deal shares of its stock, which has had difficulty rising above its initial offering, as well as cash, while the Google deal is said to be cash only.

Waze is a free downloadable navigation app with nearly 50 million subscribers. It integrates navigation with a social network that allows users to share warnings about traffic, speed traps, cameras and accidents. It also recommends routes based on recent drive times.

The Globes report noted that neither company is commenting on the deal before it is final. It is also unclear whether Google would try to integrate Waze with its existing Google Maps or leave it as a separate entity.

Google has already substantially invested in Israel. It opened an innovation campus in Tel Aviv at the end of last year.

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