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May 29, 2013

Facebook — Waze Deal Shelved Over Location Issues

Talks between Facebook and social-navigation app Waze have stalled.

The social network, which had been willing to cough up as much as $1 billion to acquire the Israel-based company, is now out of the running, sources “close to the matter” told All Things D.

Facebook and Waze don’t see eye-to-eye on various issues, the main one being location, the sources said.

According to the report, Facebook wanted Waze to make the move to the U.S. and work from the social network’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, but Waze wants to remain in Israel. Other unspecified reasons also caused the deal to fall through, the sources said.

Waze, which had been in talks with Facebook for the past six months, is asking for more than $1 billion, the sources said. Facebook had hoped to acquire Waze for between $800,000 and $1 billion, so it is possible price could have been another factor in the stalled talks.

Waze image

Waze image

Google and several other large technology firms have also apparently contacted Waze to discuss acquisition since it became public knowledge earlier this month that the world’s largest social network was courting the Israeli company.

It was rumored that Apple and Waze were in negotiations in January with the iPhone maker willing to pay up to half a billion dollars. Sources at the time said Apple had offered $400 million in cash and $100 million in incentives, based on performance.

Waze, at the time, reportedly wanted at least $750 million which, perhaps, is why nothing came of the deal then. While a source said Apple is not one of the company’s current suitors, it is not known if the iPhone maker has decided the price is too steep or if it may yet enter the competition.

Waze, the world’s fastest-growing community-based traffic and navigation app, has more than 30 million users who share current traffic information wherever they are driving.

“Imagine 30 million drivers out on the roads, working together toward a common goal: to outsmart traffic and get everyone the best route to work and back, every day,” the website reads. “Get alerted before you approach police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams, all shared by other drivers in real time. It’s like a personal heads-up from a few million of your friends on the road.”

An “active community” of Waze map editors are continuously improving and updating the app to reflect changes in a bid to improve users’ driving experience.

As technology companies like Facebook and Google continue to expand their mobile offerings, Waze would be an attractive addition, especially as the popularity of mapping apps continues to rise.