from the November 2013 issue

Facebook to Buy Israel-Based Startup to Bolster Internet

Facebook Inc. (FB:US) agreed to buy an Israelstartup that specializes in mobile applications as part of its effort to reduce the number of people without Internet access.

No terms were disclosed of the purchase of Onavo, which has about 40 employees and was founded in 2010. As part of the acquisition, Facebook will open its first office in Israel.

"Onavo will be an exciting addition to Facebook," Facebook said in an e-mailed statement today. "We expect Onavo's data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the Internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products."

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg joined with other tech companies in August to form a new group called, which aims to expand access to the Internet for the 5 billion people who have yet to get online. Facebook, owner of the world's largest social-networking service, is looking for new ways to attract more people to its service, which has more than 1 billion users.

Hardegree spoke with "Globes" ahead of his participation in the "Globes"-Ernst & Young Israel Journey Conference in Tel Aviv on October 17. "I spend a lot of time with Israeli companies and US companies that are looking at Israeli companies. There are many opportunities in Israel and most big high-tech companies consider Israel as a source of opportunities, and they are constantly seeking acquisitions here," he said.

Israeli high-tech seems to have taken a great leap forward in the past year. Even if deals the size of Waze Ltd., which was acquired by Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) for nearly $1 billion are exceptional, prominent acquisitions have climbed to $400-500 million in the past two years from $200-300 million beforehand. Then there are deals like IBM Corporation's (NYSE: IBM) acquisition of Trusteer Inc. and the merger of Perion Network Ltd. (Nasdaq:PERI: TASE:PERI) with a Conduit Ltd. spinoff at a company value of $700 million for the latter.

"I believe that the level of experience of Israeli managers has risen, such as Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX) CEO Eyal Waldman, who previously worked for multinationals and whose goal is to build a global leader. The acquisition of Waze was designed to achieve a huge market. When companies like Facebook, Apple, and Samsung chase after these opportunities, you reach extraordinary deals."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report November 2013

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