waze

An Israeli newspaper is reporting today that Google has won the bidding war for the popular crowd-sourced navigation app Waze. The two companies are in the process of finalizing an acquisition deal said to be worth $1.3 billion.

The report comes after several months of speculation that Waze was in buyout talks with a number of tech giants including Apple, and more recently Facebook—all with price tags in the neighborhood of a billion dollars…

Globes has the scoop:

“Sources inform ”Globes” that Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) will acquire Waze Ltd. for $1.3 billion. The acquisition of the Israeli navigation app and traffic report start-up will be completed after months of reports that Waze would be sold to either Google or Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB).”

The report goes on to say that Facebook representatives arrived in Israel to meet Waze executives, but no deal was reached due to the inflated price tag and the fact that it didn’t want Waze’s Israeli employees to continue working in Israel.

But Google was apparently ok with both the price tag and location, and will soon own the company outright. The deal will turn some Waze founders into multimillionaires, including CTO Ehud Shabtai, who will earn a cool $78 million.

If true, the acquisition would create an interesting situation for Apple, who currently lists Waze in the Attributes section of its Maps app as a partner. Would Google continue to let it supply data to Apple after the buyout is complete?

With mapping software becoming increasingly more important to platform success, this deal could potentially have some serious ramifications. Stay tuned.