SAN FRANCISCO — Google is buying online mapping service Waze in a $1.03 billion deal that keeps a potentially valuable tool away from its rivals while allowing it to gain technology that could improve the accuracy and usefulness of its own popular navigation system.
The acquisition announced Tuesday ends several months of speculation as Waze flirted with potential buyers interested in its rapidly growing service. Waze blends elements of a social network into its maps to produce more precise directions and more reliable information about local traffic conditions.
Google is believed to have trumped two of its fiercest foes, Facebook and Apple, in the bidding for Waze, which is based in Israel but also maintains a Palo Alto, Calif., office near all three of the Silicon Valley giants.
“We evaluated many options and believe Google is the best partner,” Waze CEO Noam Bardin wrote in a Tuesday blog post.
New bid for Sprint aims to thwart Dish
In raising its bid for Sprint Nextel, SoftBank of Japan is doing its best to make sure Dish Network will have a harder time fighting back.
Announced late Monday, SoftBank’s new offer will give shareholders additional cash, bumping up the effective value of the deal to about $7.48 a share from $6.30 a share. That’s now significantly above the $7 a share that Dish had proposed.
In exchange for that higher price, however, SoftBank requested and received a number of tougher protections. Chief among them is a new stipulation that any superior counterproposal have fully committed financing, which would force Dish to sign papers with its lenders.
Walgreens agrees to $80 million in fines
Walgreens, one of the nation’s biggest pharmacy operators, agreed Tuesday to pay $80 million in fines to resolve federal charges that it failed to properly control the sales of narcotic painkillers at some of its outlets.
Officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration described the fine as the biggest ever paid by a pharmacy chain. As part of the settlement, the license of a Florida facility used by Walgreens to distribute opioid painkillers and other controlled drugs was revoked for two years.
DEA officials said that a large quantity of prescription painkiller dispensed at the Walgreens pharmacy made their way on the black market. The opioid painkillers involved included oxycodone, a strong narcotic that is also the active ingredient in OxyContin. As part of the agreement, Walgreen agreed to establish better internal controls to monitor sales of such medications.