Sat, May 11, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Facebook in talks to buy mapping service: sources

CHALLENGE:The social networking giant is adding more features to counter competition from Apple and Google in what could be its largest deal ever

Bloomberg

Facebook Inc, owner of the world’s most popular social networking service, is in talks to acquire mobile-mapping application provider Waze Inc for as much as US$1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said.

The talks to acquire Palo Alto, California-based Waze are not final and a deal may not happen, said the people, who asked not be identified because the talks are not completed.

MOBILE SERVICE

Facebook, facing competition from Apple Inc and Google Inc, is adding more features for users who are increasingly turning to smartphones and tablets to access the social-networking service.

At US$1 billion, an acquisition of Waze would be Facebook’s largest-ever deal after it spent more than US$700 million to buy mobile photo-sharing service Instagram last year.

Waze raised US$30 million in 2011 in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s (李嘉誠) Horizons Ventures Hong Kong.

Last month, Waze announced a partnership with IMS Internet Media Services to expand in Latin America.

Waze said at the time that it had more than 40 million users.

Waze CEO Noam Bardin and Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Facebook, declined to comment.

DRIVING SERVICE

Waze uses information from online communities to improve driving routes.

The mobile app alerts users to potential traffic slowdowns or suggest new ways to reach destinations. The service also notifies drivers of speed traps, roadwork and other hazards, thanks to input from users.

Waze, a free service, generates revenue via location-based advertising.

News of discussions between Facebook and Waze was reported on Thursday by the Calcalist newspaper.

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