Google will acquire Waze, the Israeli-based navigation and traffic reporting startup, for about $1.3 billion in an as-yet officially undisclosed deal. The app has about fifty million users and reportedly, part of the agreement is to leave Waze independent and stationed in Israel.
The deal comes after others have been openly courting the company for purchase. Both Apple and Facebook were seen sending representatives to Israel to talk to the company’s board. Of the three companies, however, only Google has an office in Israel and it was said that Waze refused the Facebook deal specifically because the social giant wouldn’t agree to keep the company there.
One persistent rumor that Apple was going to acquire Waze as an insta-fix to its iPhone map problems was found to be untrue when CEO Tim Cook said that they hadn’t bid on the company and were not planning to acquire a third-party app to replace their own mapping software.
Waze was founded in 2009 and has raised about $67 million in startup funds since its inception. The company’s app has one of the largest userbases of any mobile mapping app outside of Google. It’s chief officers could stand to become multi-millionaires with tens of millions each when this deal completes.
This story broke in the Globes Online in Israel.