Facebook has agreed to buy the mobile messaging app WhatsApp for USD 19 billion. Facebook will pay USD 4 billion in cash and USD 12 billion in Facebook shares, and WhatsApp’s founders and employees will also receive USD 3 billion in options on Facebook shares after closing the deal. This will give WhatsApp shareholders and staff in total 7.9 percent of Facebook’s outstanding shares.
Facebook will keep the WhatsApp brand, and the company’s founder Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board of directors. Similar to Instagram, WhatsApp will be allowed to operate independently within Facebook, maintaining its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Facebook will also continue to offer its own Messenger app, which will continue as a standalone application.
WhatsApp is one of the most successful of the multiple IP messaging apps growing in popularity with mobile users. The company counts over 450 million active users each month and is adding 1 million registered users each day. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people, and any service that does that is “incredibly valuable”.