Israel’s antitrust panel taking a look at Google-Waze merger


Israel’s antitrust regulatory commission is investigating whether the Google-Waze merger constitutes a monopoly.

The Israel Antitrust Authority opened its investigation on Wednesday, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.

The probe will focus on whether Google’s purchase of Waze, a free downloadable navigation application with more than 50 million subscribers, should have obtained permission from the authority before the merger and whether it could create a monopoly in the Israeli market.

Waze on July 25 reported a purchase price of $966 million in cash in its financial report for the second quarter of 2013, Globes reported. The purchase was completed in mid-May.

The Israeli firm’s managers and employees have remained in their Raanana headquarters rather than relocating to Menlo Park, Calif. Google has said that Waze will remain a separate service and an independent company.

The antitrust authority has asked Google Israel’s general manager and Waze Israel’s CEO for financial and other information, according to Globes.

Also investigating the merger are the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and Britain’s Office of Fair Trading.

Google-Waze deal investigated by FTC


The Federal Trade Commisssion is examining Google’s $1 billion deal to purchase the Israeli navigation start-up Waze to see if the purchase violated any antitrust laws.

After the deal between Google and Waze was finalized June 11, Google believed it didn’t need to submit the deal for review because Waze’s revenue in the U.S. is less than $70 million. If the FTC determineds there were violations in the deal, Google will most likely have to re-sell Waze at a loss. Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all previously wanted to purchase the Israeli start-up.

Even if no violations are found, Waze could still be determined to be a “firm that plays a disruptive role in the market to the benefit of customers,” which is possible since there is no other social-based mapping service like Waze on the market, the New York Times reported. In that case, Google’s purchase can also be invalidated.