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Google in bidding war with Facebook over Waze

Search giant considering purchase of social navigation company.

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Google is said to be considering a bid for social navigation firm Waze. Any attempt at a deal could bring the search giant into a bidding war with Facebook, which is said to be in advanced talks with the Israeli company.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg reporters that a deal was possible. Waze is thought to be courting a number of different companies and is said to be putting a price tag on itself of $1 billion (662 million).

Waze spokesperson Julie Mossler said the firm does not comment on rumors or speculation.

Waze may also stay in private hands instead by raising another round of venture capital. In 2011, Waze managed to successfully raise $30 million (19.86 million) in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Horizons Ventures Hong Kong. Microsoft is also said to be an investor, as is Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Venture Capital and BlueRun Ventures.

The firm provides mapping and navigation apps on mobile devices that use information from other users to improve driving directions. The service currently boasts around 40 million users and was set up in 2007.

Facebook was thought to be lining up a possible purchase of the firm. It could integrate its social network into the navigation service it much the same way it does through its partnership with music streaming service Spotify. It has been suggested that the leak of the original interest by Facebook in the company was done to provoke interest from other firms in Waze, such as Google, and start a bidding war.

However, Google could integrate the tool into its own mapping software and take out what could be perceived as a competitive threat. According to sources, Apple is not taking part in any discussions over the firm, despite false rumours in January that it too was interested in buying to company in a bid to boost its unloved mapping efforts.

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