Facebook has acquired hugely popular messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and shares.
WhatsApp has more than 450 million users, with 70% of them active each day, and has found popularity amongst people looking to avoid network charges for text messages and message groups of friends at the same time.
Facebook has long seen the messaging app as a competitor to its own growth as the central hub of mobile messaging, and as WhatsApp’s userbase continued to explode at 1 million registrations per day, Facebook decided that acquisition was the best way to deal with the threat.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO said on the deal:
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable. I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said:
“WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”
The deal includes $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in shares, and is the social network’s biggest acquisition to date, having bought Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012. The company also reportedly offered $3 billion for SnapChat, but the offer was declined.
Photograph by Sam Azgor