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Google’s Waze acquisition could be in danger because of risky filing tactics


The idea that Google could lose ownership of Waze less than ten days after buying it for a rumored billion dollars might sound incredible, but that’s the intriguing possibility raised by a law professor from Ohio State University writing in the New York Times.

The law requires companies to make what’s known as a Hart-Scott-Rodino filing for any intended acquisition so that the proposed deal can be checked for anti-trust issues before it takes place. Google apparently didn’t make this filing.

According to a person close to Google, the company skipped the Hart-Scott-Rodino filing by relying on an exemption. This filing is not required if the acquisition is of a foreign company that has sales and assets in the United States of less than $60.9 million. Waze is an Israeli company with headquarters in Silicon Valley, so it comes under this test.

Waze probably doesn’t have $50 million in revenue worldwide, yet the test also looks at assets. Given that Waze is worth $1 billion, it is hard to see that the value of its intellectual property in the United States business doesn’t meet the test. And the F.T.C. has previously indicated that companies should include this type of intellectual property in informal guidance …  Expand