Google exec bashes Facebook for $19 billion WhatsApp buy

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Google wanted to acquire WhatsApp but it couldn’t get the deal done. Now, Google is apparently venting some frustrations that Facebook beat it to the punch. While speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google’s chief business officer Nikesh Arora voiced his opinion that the huge $19 billion sum Facebook is paying to acquire WhatsApp is exorbitant.

“$500 million per employee? Is that a good use of our money?” Arora replied to Morgan Stanley’s Scott Devitt when he asked if Google might be interested in another big mobile messaging market player following the WhatsApp deal.

As The Wall Street Journal noted, Facebook’s acquisition of the 55-person cross-platform messaging startup WhatsApp actually works out to roughly $345 million per employee, but Arora’s point was loud and clear. He thinks Facebook overpaid, and Google wouldn’t match the offer when pursuing the company itself.

According to the Journal, Google first tried to acquire WhatsApp several years ago and it approached the company again with buyout talks more recently.

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