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Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion

Updated Feb 19th, 2014 5:27PM EST
Facebook WhatsApp Acquisition $16 Billion

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When WhatsApp launched in 2009, no one predicted that it would grow to be a multibillion-dollar company. However, Facebook on Wednesday said that it planned to buy the hugely popular social messaging app for a stunning $16 billion. In its official announcement, Facebook says that it will pay $4 billion in cash for WhatsApp plus $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. Facebook also says that “the agreement also provides for 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.”

So why would Facebook want to shell out all that money for WhatsApp? Facebook notes that WhatsApp already has 450 million people using it every month and that it’s only expected to keep growing.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a prepared statement. “The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable. I’ve known [WhatsApp founder Jan Koum] for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”

For its part, WhatsApp says that “nothing” will change for its users now that it’s been bought up by Facebook, which means that “you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication.”

“There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product,” WhatsApp says.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.