Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly considering a bid for the mobile mapping and navigation company Waze for $1 billion or more.
The search giant is reportedly driving forward its plan to buy Waze after Facebook’s bid became public earlier this month.
Earlier reports suggested that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), based in Menlo Park, is in advanced talks to buy the mapping and navigation company for between $800 million and $1 billion.
However some reports indicated that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wanted Waze to move their development team to Silicon Valley, which Waze founders were not interested. Some fear this could derail Facebook’s efforts to buy the navigation company.
Waze was founded in 2007 is a mapping application for smartphones that alerts users to potential traffic slowdowns or suggests alternative routes to reach destinations. Users can also tap an icon to alert other users of road work, speed traps, and other potential hazards. Waze has only 11 of its 100 employees based in the U.S., while the rest are based in Israel.
The mobile mapping company is reportedly fielding expressions of interest from various players and is seeking over $1 billion. Waze’s application is quite popular and has user base of 47 million across 193 countries. The free service from Waze generates revenue through location-based advertising.
Waze raised $67 million in funding from firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Blue Run Ventures and semiconductor company QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is also an investor in Waze, but is not mentioned as a bidder so far.
According to Bloomberg, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) which distributes a competing mapping tool, is not talking to Waze about a deal.
The search giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), based in Mountain View, California, already has a widely used mapping tool. But the Waze acquisition would make Google Maps an even more robust and a popular product. Besides, Google might be motivated to keep mobile-revenue competitor Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) out of its domain.
While unveiling its Home mobile software in April, Facebook made it clear that the project was just a starting point for Facebook’s journey to expand its mobile capabilities.
With consumers gravitate toward mobile devices, the two mega-rich competitive Silicon Valley firms Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are emboldening their efforts to court customers on the go.
In the event of not clinching any deal, Waze may seek to expand its mapping program through funding from venture capitalists.