Facebook seems to be all geared up to close yet another billion-dollar acquisition deal in an attempt to strengthen its mobile platform. The social media giant is in talks to buy the GPS company Waze for $800 million to $1 billion, Israeli daily newspaper Calcalist reports.
The negotiations between the social network and the Israeli start-up Waze Mobile apparently began six months ago. It is said that both companies have signed a term sheet, and that Facebook is doing due diligence.
Waze is a free social GPS application featuring turn-by-turn navigation app that uses crowdsourcing to gather real-time conditions on the road. In April 2013, the app had a base of 44 million users.
Waze is already a part of Faceobook. Waze enables its users to share their drive with Facebook friends. It makes sense to why Facebook is interested in acquiring Waze. If the deal between the two companies goes through, it will be quite interesting to see how Facebook plans to incubate itself in the GPS space.
Last year in April, Facebook acquired Instagram for a whopping 1 billion USD and it isn’t surprising if Facebook spends the same on Waze. The company also acquired two Israeli startups: Snaptu in March 2011 for $70 million and Face.com in June 2012 for $60 million.
Waze has been in the subject of acquisition talk for a while now. Six months ago it was reported that Apple was interested to acquire the company for $400 million and plus $100 million in incentives. Waze tried to push the offer to $750 million, however, the deal didn’t pass through. The only reason why Apple wanted to buy Waze is pretty obvious – improve its own, much criticized Maps product.
Yesterday, we reported that Apple may acquire Waze, the popular social turn-by-turn navigation company. According to the report, Apple was willing to offer approximately $400 million plus an additional $100 million in incentives. However, Waze was more interested in a deal closer to $750 million.
Today, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reports that there is actually no deal happening.
And while Mike Butcher also claimed multiple sources in his original post, you’ll note that he was quick to qualify the information as a “rumor” (or in British parlance — Mike is English — a “rumour”). Because that’s exactly what it was. This isn’t a rumor (of a non-deal). There is no deal is happening. At least not now or anytime soon.
Siegler also said that Apple and Waze have in fact probably had low-level conversations about a closer partnership given that Apple already uses Waze’s data in iOS 6 Maps.
The release of iOS 6 Maps caused hoopla for Apple and since then, the company has been trying to improve its maps app as quickly as possible. Today, TechCrunch reports that Apple may be interested in acquiring Waze, the popular social turn-by-turn navigation company. The application is available on iOS for free and is marketed by the company as a “fun, community-based traffic & navigation app.” It claims that more than 30 million people are using the service.
Because Waze maps are built on the location of moving cars, it’s far more accurate than check-in apps. Outside of Google’s project to map cities with Streetview cars – something which has taken years to complete – and the real-world mapping undertaken by volunteers on the Open Streetmaps open source project, there has been little to match Waze’s approach. Waze turned mapping into not only a game, but also a way for drivers to be social, reporting road obstacles, traffic and police traps. It is properly useful.
It would also cost Apple northwards of $500M+ to buy Foursquare (which has raised $71 million is known to be raising another round), and gain, what? The location of restaurants, bars and airports? Given Waze has raised $67 million, Apple could acquire far better mapping data and a real driving app.
Waze also allows users to share real-time information on traffic congestion, gas prices, accidents, speed traps and checkpoints, and more. Some data is automatically reported by simply having the iPhone application open while driving.
Both companies declined to comment on the rumor. I believe, if Apple acquires Waze, it will be significant gain for the company because of the mapping data Waze has to offer.