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June 24, 2013

US Federal Trade Commission Now Reviewing Google's Acquisition of Waze

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has contacted Google in recent weeks about its acquisition of Waze, a navigation mobile app.

News reports said the FTC (News - Alert) is reviewing the deal, which was valued at about $1.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The FTC can examine such acquisitions after they close, the Journal explained. The only way the deal could be stopped is if regulators can prove it would “significantly hurt competition in the market for navigation and mapping apps,” The Journal adds.

The FTC inquiry may look at whether Waze would have become a key competitor with Google or if Google wanted the company to keep it away from rival businesses, news reports said.

Before the deal was announced, Facebook and Apple (News - Alert) were both interested in acquiring Waze. In fact, Calcalist said that Facebook would have paid between $800 million and $1 billion for Waze. At that amount, it would have been the highest ever paid by Facebook (News - Alert) to acquire another company, TMCnet reported.

The Israeli-based Waze says that 45 million users have downloaded the navigation app. It is used in 190 nations.

Google (News - Alert) is an online maps provider, too – causing concern among government antitrust regulators.

Before the deal with Google, Waze founder Uri Levine said, "Waze has only one competitor - Google. Google is our main threat, because if it does what we are doing faster, it will win in the end," according to a statement carried by The Telegraph.

In recent weeks, Google said it will keep Waze “independent, although its traffic monitoring data will be incorporated into Google's maps,” according to TMCnet.

It is possible, according to news reports, that the FTC asked Google to delay any efforts to integrate Waze, until the agency can complete its review of the deal.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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