Report: Israeli start-up to turn down $1 billion acquisition by Facebook

Thursday, May 30, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli start-up Waze, which provides a real-time navigation and traffic report app for smartphones, is reportedly set to turn down a $1 billion dollar acquisition bid by Facebook in order to keep its team in Israel.

With the improved GPS capabilities of newer smartphones like the iPhone and various Android handsets, Waze has seen a huge increase in usage in recent years, and today has an estimated user base of 48 million worldwide.

Waze competes directly with the "Maps" applications provided by Google and Apple, at least when it comes to traffic and road navigation. Most users say that in these situations, Waze manages to far outdo both of the technology giants.

That's what makes Waze a natural acquisition for Facebook, which competes with both Google and Apple on many fronts, but has yet to jump into the GPS-based navigation game.

But, according to American technology website "AllThingsD," talks between the two companies are breaking down. Despite a massive potential payday for the Israeli start-up, the Waze team has reportedly made keeping the bulk of their operations in Israel a red line, while Facebook is presumably insisting that Waze move to its headquarters in California.

Accurate or not, this news is being met with a fair amount of national pride in Israel, where innovative start-ups spring up all the time, but almost always accept a foreign buy-out when it is offered.

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