Global data harvesting operation Facebook is rumored to be in talks to buy an Israeli mobile satellite navigation start-up, called Waze, for as much as $1 billion.
According to a business daily, Calcalist, Reuters reports, due dilligence is already underway after a term sheet had been signed. It is understood that initial talks started late last year.
Facebook could want to implent Waze’s functionality, which makes use of satellite signals from smartphones, turning that data into real time information to generate maps, or build intelligence on traffic. This information then becomes accessible to other users. The two began a partnership October 2012 that lets users of Waze interact with Facebook friends.
Although information is a bit thin on the ground, this deal seems a little bit more measured than the impromptu buy of Instagram, thought to be masterminded on a top-down level from Zuckerberg himself. Since listing publicly, shareholders hoped Facebook would put a little more thought into its purchases before it spends top dollar.
Facebook has heaps of valuable data, but it is still not monetising as much as it should be at this point – so it will be interesting to see what Facebook plans to do with Waze, should the deal actually go through.
Waze’s userbase has shot up in recent years.
Israel produces plenty of tech savvy start-ups and Facebook has previously acquired other companies from the country, in the Snaptu and Face.com buy-outs.