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$FB Said to Be Buying Waze, A Social Mapping/ Traffic App, For $1B

Facebook appears to be close to makinganother billion-dollar acquisition to once again ramp up its mobile efforts: according to three reports in the Israeli press at Calcalist and sister publication Ynet andThe Marker (all in Hebrew), Facebook has approached Waze, the social mapping and traffic app maker, and is now in advanced due dilligence on a deal that Calcalist puts at between $800 million and $1 billion. The negotiations between the social network and crowdsourced mapping app apparently began six months ago.

We have been digging too and have picked up confirmation from a source that both sides have privately confirmed that the deal is happening, and that the pricing reported first by the Calcalist is accurate. The main issue right now, the source said, is whether to keep Waze in Israel or take it to the U.S., as Facebook did with two previous Israel acqusitions. Those were of feature phone interface developer Snaptu (bought for up to $70 million in March 2011) and facial recognition specialistFace.com (bought in June 2012 for $50-60 million).

But! Facebook and Waze have already come back to us with flat non-responses. “We do not comment on rumors or speculation about the business,” a spokesperson at Waze told TechCrunch. The company tells me that it currently has over 47 million active users — more than double what it had in July last year when it reported 20 million.

“We won’t comment on speculation,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

However, if the rumors are true, adding Waze to Facebook makes a lot of sense in some respects: Facebook has been putting a lot of effort into its mobile business, which now has 751 million monthly active users as of March 31, 2013, an increase of 54% year-over-year. That puts mobile on a faster track at the moment than Facebook’s desktop business, which currently has 1.11 billion MAUs, an increase of 23% year-over-year….”

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