Facebook close to acquiring navigation app Waze so it can sell ads while you drive

Facebook is reportedly very close to buying crowdsourced navigation app Waze for anywhere between $500 million and $1 billion.

The Facebook rumour mill is churning with reports that Zuckerberg and company are inching closer to sealing the deal on a purchase of the popular crowdsourced navigation app, Waze.

Waze has been the subject of a bidding war between both Apple and Facebook over the past year. The Israeli startup reportedly turned down a US$300 million bid from Facebook only six months ago, and a $500 million bid from Apple just this past January.

According to several reports in the Israeli and American press, Facebook is in final negotiations to sealing the deal that may be worth anywhere between$500 million and $1 billion, depending on whose sources you believe.

The Waze MacGuffin

Waze would prove to be a valuable acquisition for both Apple and Facebook. From Cupertino's point of view, the popular app, which currently boasts 47 million active users--double what it had just last year--could help erase the stain of the great Apple Maps fiasco of 2012 and give the company independence from mobile rival Google.

For Facebook's part, Waze would be a way to extend its social network into the automotive space. At the New York International Auto Show in March, Doug Frisbie, Facebook's head of automotive global marketing mentioned Waze by name as a prime example of the merging of the social web and automotive mobile experience. While that all sounds nice and good, FB is a for-profit enterprise and Waze would provide the company a new way to sell ads while you are in transit.

In the mobile maps game, Waze has secured a comfy second place only to Google in markets throughout Europe and North America. However, in developing nations such as Brazil, Uruguay, and Indonesia, the app has surpassed the mighty Google Maps by far. A rising segment of the globe's population has skipped the desktop rungs of the digital ladder and bolted full steam into the mobile age. An app like Waze can be a new bridge for big tech companies looking to court this rising class.

If the Waze acquisition goes through, it will be Facebook's third major Israeli acquisition in as many years. In 2011, FB snapped up social bundling app Snaptu for $70 million, and in 2012 it purchased facial recognition software firm Face.com for $60 million. In both those instances, Facebook relocated these companies and employees to headquarters in San Francisco, New York, and London.

According to reports from Forbes and the Israeli paper Haaretz, one of the last sticking points is overcoming Waze's wish to keep the R&D shop in the middle east.

If all the rumours are to be believed (and they're all still rumours at this point), we should see if the two techy lovebirds can make it official in very the near future.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

​ Creating a purpose-driven brand

So you want to be a brand with purpose. But what does it actually mean to build a brand with real meaning?

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Customer experience crisis: Proactively mitigating the risk of broken promises

Last Friday, three weeks after United Airline’s spectacular customer experience disaster, customers received a letter from the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz.

The politics of branding

There have been some real doozies lately. I’m speaking of campaigns where brands have dipped their toe in - or jump straight into the deep end – of the political spectrum, aligning with social causes that seem to be the flavour of the day.

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Grate post, thanks for the post.No matter what your business is, if you do no not rank among the top most search results of Google, Yahoo...

Rahul

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

Thank you Shane Blandford for carrying my Smarketing vision into KM !

Peter Strohkorb

​CMO Interview: Why aligning sales and marketing drives innovation at Konica Minolta

Read more

Thanks for helping me putting those threads of thoughts together. Simplification and connection - neat idea.

Mark Bayly

Tips from IAG on how to craft human-centred design

Read more

The problem with Box is that they made a couple of big mistakes - they first hired a bunch of unprepared kids and gave them big roles and...

Tim Woods

CMO interview: Why Box's marketing chief is rewarding staff for failing

Read more

At this point, being hit hard will also be subject for a detailed study. In honesty, too early to tell but there are precedents to follow...

Sean Lindeman

Australian Government to abolish 457 visa program

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in