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Facebook Buys Israeli Start-up Onavo

Zuckerberg to pay up to $200 million for his biggest Israeli acquisition yet

by
Stephanie Butnick
October 14, 2013
Onavo Startup exhibit at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 on September 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California.(Araya Diaz/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Onavo Startup exhibit at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 on September 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California.(Araya Diaz/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

The start-up nation yields another start-up—this one, Onavo, snatched up by Facebook for somewhere between $150 and $200 million, Reuters reports.

The company, founded three years ago, said that once the transaction closes, Onavo’s mobile utility application – which helps people cut mobile phone costs through more efficient use of data – will run as a standalone brand.

This is Facebook’s largest acquisition in Israel yet, and perhaps more significant, will be the social media giant’s first research and development site in Israel—the deal will allow Onavo, which already has offices in Palo Alto, to keep its flagship Israeli offices in operation.

The last major Israeli start-up export was Waze, the GPS-enabled driving app bought by Google over the summer for $1.3 billion amid reports that Facebook was also trying to buy the app. But it’s not always smooth sailing for new Israeli ventures—back in June, Daniella Cheslow reported on the failed electric-car company ‘Better Place,’ whose promising battery-swapping venture raised $850 million from investors in the United States, Europe, and Israel only to quickly stall out.

Welcome to the Holy Land, Zuck.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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