Facebook has acquired an Israeli startup, the social networking company announced today, and in an unusual move, most of the employees will remain in Tel Aviv. Onavo, founded three years ago, is in the business of what the Next Web calls "mobile data optimization." Basically, its data compression software can cut data consumption on smartphones by as much as 80%, the New York Times reports. That could help Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org initiative, which aims to get free or cheap mobile Internet access to everyone.
"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," a Facebook spokesperson says. Typically, after Facebook acquires a company, workers are relocated to the Menlo Park headquarters. But a deal was made to keep most of Onavo's roughly 40 employees in Israel, and the co-founder and CEO says Onavo will basically be a standalone company, similar to the way Facebook runs Instagram. No word on price, but Fast Company figures Facebook paid $150 million or more. (Read more Facebook stories.)