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FTC to review Google’s 2013 Waze acquisition as part of its antitrust sweep

The FTC plans to examine “many” other deals that were already reviewed in the past.

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What you need to know

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will reportedly be taking a second look at Google’s acquisition of Waze.
  • Google’s acquisition of the Israeli company behind navigation app Waze for $1.1 billion was approved by the FTC in 2013.
  • Antitrust experts say a ‘second look’ is required as the deal combined two popular digital mapping services and eliminated a fast-growing rival, giving Google greater control over valuable data.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ordered Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft to provide information about all ‘small’ acquisitions that they made between Jan.1, 2010 and Dec.31, 2019. However, it now appears that the FTC isn’t just scrutinizing smaller acquisitions. As per Bloomberg, the FTC has decided to take another look at Google’s acquisition of crowdsourced navigation service Waze.

Google had acquired the Israeli company behind Waze for $1.1 billion in June 2013. Even though the FTC had approved the transaction nearly seven years back, antitrust experts believe the regulator will be taking a second look as it allowed Google to eliminate a fast-growing rival and further strengthened its grip over user data.

Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, which has been pushing for a crackdown on major tech firms, said:

It was literally Google acquiring its number one competitor in maps. It was a bad deal that should have been blocked.

When the deal was announced in 2013, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney had said that the move “eliminates Waze as a potential acquisition target for competitors who could use the app’s collection of data and 50 million users to bolster their own location-based products.”

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