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Facebook reportedly in talks to buy Waze for $1 billion

The social network could be eyeing a purchase of the Israeli company known for its socially informed navigation app, according to business-news site Calcalist.


Facebook may be aiming to spend anywhere from $800 million to $1 billion to acquire Waze, an Israel-based company that offers a socially informed GPS app for drivers.

Talks reportedly kicked off six months ago, according to Israeli business-news site Calcalist, which says that due diligence is currently under way. This would mean that the two companies are checking each other out before signing on the dotted line. The two also have signed a term sheet, or an agreement in principle on the sale, according to Calcalist.

An agreement sounds like it could be close. However, sources close to Waze told the Times of Israel that a deal is not necessarily imminent. The two companies haven't yet signed a memorandum of understanding, nor has Facebook apparently called any banks to finance the purchase.

Asking to comment on the reported deal, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET that "we don't comment on rumor or speculation."

Available for the iPhone, Android phones, and Windows Phone, Waze is a free mobile app that helps drivers wend their way through traffic via live maps, traffic updates, and turn-by-turn navigation. The social aspect comes into play as fellow Waze users offer their insights to help ease or adjust your journey.

Any traffic jams or other obstacles faced by nearby Waze users automatically appear on the Waze map on your device. Other Waze drivers also can send out alerts of slow or hazardous traffic conditions to help you avoid them. Waze now counts around 45 million users. In March, 1.5 million people downloaded the mobile app, according to Calcalist.

Waze updated its app in October 2012 to allow users to sign in through Facebook to look up links near their destination and send messages to their friends.

A rumor floating around in January suggested that Apple was eyeing an acquisition of Waze. But a source familiar with Apple's thinking told CNET that the report was fabricated and that no discussions were being held between the two companies.

Updated 9:40 a.m. PT with response from Facebook.