Facebook expected to acquire Israeli navigation startup Waze

Social networking firm Facebook is in talks to acquire Israeli mobile satellite navigation startup Waze for up to $1bn

Social networking firm Facebook is in talks to acquire mobile satellite navigation start-up Waze for up to $1bn, according to Israeli business daily Calcalist.

Financial results released in January showed almost a quarter of Facebook’s business is now mobile, making location-based services an important area of development.

Commenting on the results, founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said: “Facebook is a mobile company. Mobile is a perfect device for Facebook. It allows us to reach more people.”

The deal will give Facebook its own mapping service it can customise, which will improve its competitive position in relation to Apple and Google, said Reuters.

Waze, which has 47 million members, uses satellite signals from users’ smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, which it then shares with other users.

The app has already incorporated Facebook, allowing users to share journey information with friends.

Maps and navigation services have become a key asset for technology companies with growing adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices capable of location-based services.

Neither company has issued a statement, but reports said talks between Waze and Facebook started six months ago and have reached an advanced stage, with due diligence processes already underway.

The acquisition will be the largest for Facebook since it agreed to a $1bn cash and stock deal for photo-sharing app Instagram, which ended up being $715m, following declines in Facebook’s share price.

Shares of Facebook were up 1.1%, or 30 cents, at $27.42 in afternoon trading on Thursday.

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