Bidding War? Google Joins Race to Acquire Mapping Start-Up Waze

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Published May 24, 2013

| FOXBusiness

Add Google (GOOG) to the growing list of tech titans who have kicked the tires of Israeli mobile satellite navigation start-up Waze.

Highlighting the importance of both maps and mobile, Google is considering acquiring Waze, which is seeking more than $1 billion in a potential sale, Bloomberg News reported.

The news follows reports earlier this month indicating Facebook (FB) was in advanced talks about scooping up Waze for up to $1 billion as the social-networking leader continues to shift its attention to the crucial mobile front.

Previous reports indicate both Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) also expressed interest in acquiring Waze in the past. 

Since the Facebook talks leaked, Waze has been approached by Google and other unnamed large tech companies about a potential deal, Bloomberg reported.

None of the discussions are close to resulting in a transaction and it’s possible Waze could opt to remain independent by tapping venture-capital firms for more cash, the wire service reported.

Neither Waze nor Mountain View, Calif.-based Google immediately responded to requests for comment.

Founded in 2007, Waze is considered the world’s largest social networking-based navigation app and has tripled its user base to 45 million users.

At a potential $1 billion valuation, Waze would match the price tag Facebook paid to acquire photo-sharing app Instagram last year and near the $1.1 billion Yahoo (YHOO) shelled out earlier this week to acquire social blogging site Tumblr.

Shares of Google slumped 0.88% to $875.06 Friday morning in the wake of reports indicating the Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into the tech giant’s display-ad business.

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http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/05/23/google-like-facebook-in-talks-to-buy-waze-for-about-1-bln-report/