Facebook has pulled out of talks to acquire the Israeli social mapping and navigation startup Waze, the U.S. technology website AllThingsD reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the negotiators.
If true, it brings to an end what would have been one of the biggest sales ever of an Israeli startup. The social media company had been in talks to pay as much as $1 billion for Waze, which is based in Ra’anana.
The negotiations collapsed in recent days, AllThingsD reported, over demands by Waze’s management to keep the company and its staff in Israel. Facebook, as it has with other Israeli acquisition, has insisted that the Waze team move to its Menlo Park, California headquarters.
Spokesman for both companies declined to comment, the website said.
The issue about where Waze’s operations would be located had emerged as a bone of contention. But sources had said the two sides had come to an agreement under which Waze’s research and development facilities would remain in Israel, where it would remain a registered company. But Waze’s Palo Alto office would be merged into Facebook.
Meanwhile, there were reports that other Silicon Valley giants have been eyeing Waze as well. Bloomberg News reported last week that Google and other, unnamed companies had approached Waze as well.
Apple was also a rumored bidder, but its CEO, Tim Cook, told a conference on Tuesday that the company had made no such bid.
Waze uses satellite signals from members’ smartphones to generate maps and traffic data, which it then shares with other users, offering real-time traffic info. Because its technology is designed for social media, Waze was considered a good fit for Facebook, analysts said.
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