Facebook will acquire smartphone-messaging app WhatsApp for a $19 billion cash-and-stock deal. The move pushes the social network further into the fast-growing mobile messaging market.
Under the agreement, Facebook will pay $4 billion in cash, as well as $12 billion in stock for WhatsApp. To close the deal, the social network also offered an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.
Whatsapp has grown exponentially since its launch in 2009. The service has about 450 million users and is adding more than 1 million new users every day.
According to a statement from Facebook announcing the deal, the acquisition supports the social network’s and WhatsApp's shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies. "WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive.
Zuckerberg has been trying to get into the mobile messaging market for a while. The company offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion last year, but the photo messaging start-up declined the offer.
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and retain its brand, while co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook's board.
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March 19, 2014