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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Google to buy Waze for $1.3 billion

Waze founders (from right to left) Samuel Keret, Amir Shinar and Ehud Shabtai, and CEO Noam Bardin (Photo: Tzvika Tishler)
Waze founders (from right to left) Samuel Keret, Amir Shinar and Ehud Shabtai, and CEO Noam Bardin (Photo: Tzvika Tishler)

Israeli startup to be acquired by Internet search giant following failed talks with Facebook. As deal still in due diligence stage, its value is subject to changes

Further success for Israeli high-tech: Google and Waze have agreed in principle on the price of a deal which will see the Internet search giant acquire the Israeli developer of a successful navigation software.
The expected deal, valued at $1.3 billion, is still subject to due diligence, which means the transaction has yet to be finalized and is open to changes.
The negotiations between Google and Waze were revealed about two weeks ago on the Bloomberg website, likely several days after Facebook ended negotiations to acquire the Israeli startup company.
According to estimates, Waze’s development center will remain in Israel and will be run by the Israeli staff in the coming years.
The company’s founders can mark this as an achievement, after insisting during the negotiations with Facebook that the company will remain in Israel. The talks failed after the social network demanded the company’s liquidation.
This is an achievement also in the talks with Google, whose acquisition of two other companies in Israel – LabPixies and QuickSee – led to their liquidation. Those two small companies had 10-20 employees, only few of whom were integrated into Google’s development center in Tel Aviv.
Waze’s offices will likely remain in the city of Raanana, and the management will be able to run it for two to three years, including its HR policy.
Google most likely turned to Waze in the midst of its negotiations with Facebook, which were first revealed by Calcalist, causing the talks with the social network to hit the brakes. Waze may have even given up on the deal with Facebook knowing that Google was already in its pocket.
Waze was founded in 2007. Noam Bardin, who lives in the United States, serves as its CEO. The company’s application is considered the world’s biggest social network-based navigation app thanks to 45 million users and a market share of 10% of all navigation apps in the US.
In the past year, Waze tripled its number of subscribers from 15 million to 45 million, and in March alone it had 1.5 million downloads around the world.
Waze is today the second most popular map and navigation app in Apple stores, after Google’s map service, in the US, Canada, France and Australia.