Negotiations in fact began six months ago. On January, reports alleged that the developer of the Waze free mobile navigation application was in talks with Apple, which the American technology giant denied.
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Estimates followed that Waze was conducting acquisition talks with companies the likes of Microsoft and Facebook. However no de facto negotiations between Waze and Facebook were held at the beginning of the year, but both parties met during three visits to Israel by Facebook representatives.
Waze and Facebook partnered in October 2012 when Waze released its updated version that interfaces with Facebook. The interface allows users to share their drive with their Facebook buddies.
The deal would be one of Facebook’s largest acquisitions, aside from Instagram, which it acquired in 2012 for a similar sum, and its third acquisition in Israel – preceded by the acquisition of Snaptu in 2011 for $70 million and Face.com in 2012 for $60 million.
Facebook wound up both companies and relocated their employees to its headquarters in San Francisco, New York and London. It is not yet clear what will become of Waze following the deal.
In the past year, Waze tripled its user base from 15 million to 45 million, and last March alone 1.5 million users downloaded its free mobile navigation application. About a third of its users live in the United States, and as of now its popularity in the West is second only to Google Maps, whereas in developing markets such as Brazil, Uruguay and Indonesia it surpassed Google by far.
Assaf Gilad contributed to this report
This report was originally published in Hebrew by Calcalist