MUMBAI: WhatsApp is an application that has seen exponential growth in the five years since its launch and it has become the most popular means of communication through mobile phones. In a deal announced today, popular social media website Facebook has acquired the messaging application for a whopping $19 billion.
As per the terms of the transaction, $4 billion will be paid in cash to WhatsApp shareholders, $12 billion in Facebook shares and $3 billion in restricted stock units that will vest in the owners and employers of WhatsApp over four years after the deal is completed after regulatory approvals. WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will be joining the Facebook board of directors.
After the acquisition, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and will continue its policy of no advertising. Currently, the application has 450 million users and is adding a million users each day. A release from Facebook says that the acquisition supports Facebook’s and WhatsApp’s shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably.
“WhatsApp is a company of really hardcore engineers who are obsessing over perfecting messaging, not adding a lot of bloated features into a messaging app. Over time, I think people are going to pay for that,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook was advised by Allen & Company LLC and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and WhatsApp was advised by Morgan Stanley and Fenwick & West, LLP.
Koum said, “WhatsApp's extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We're excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”