Facebook to Acquire Israel-Based Onavo

Facebook Inc. agreed to buy an Israeli startup 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 Internet.org, 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.

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