Facebook buys WhatsApp for $16 billion

Facebook logoAccording to an early report from Bloomberg News reporter Sarah Frier, Facebook is set to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion. An SEC filing confirms the acquisition for $4 billion in cash to WhatsApp's security holders, along with $12 billion in Facebook stock and an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock that will vest over four years.

WhatsApp has been one of a handful of booming messaging apps that has grown especially large in the last year (GroupMe, WeChat, Kik, and Line are others). In December, the app was reported to have over 400 million monthly users, and Facebook now reports that the service has 450 million. Meanwhile, Facebook maintains roughly 1.2 billion as of last October.

Facebook has yet to release usage numbers for either its messaging feature on the whole or its dedicated Messenger app. The Verge noted in December that it was "telling" that few other messaging apps release their usage numbers like WhatsApp does, which suggests its user base dwarfs its competitors.

The acquisition follows Facebook's recent failure to buy Snapchat, another messaging service that focuses on ephemeral picture messages, for $3 billion in cash.

In its press announcement, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that WhatsApp is "on a path to connect 1 billion people." Per the post, Facebook will run WhatsApp similar to the way it runs Instagram, which is to say it will be maintained as a separate property for the time being. However, Facebook and Instagram have been inching slightly closer to one another in functionality and design, suggesting that independence can't be guaranteed. For now, "WhatsApp's core messaging product and Facebook's existing Messenger app will continue to operate as standalone applications."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Facebook

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