Short of making an offer on everything else you hold dear, Facebook have today made their largest acquisition yet with the purchase of cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash, approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares (with an additional $3 billion restricted stock units for employee retention) all under the guise of bringing “more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably” and definitely not in pursuit of global domination.
In a press release, Facebook’s Frank Underwood, Mark Zuckerberg, likens the five-year-old WhatsApp to “a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable”. The specifics of that milestone? WhatsApp is used by over 450 million users each month – 70% (320 million) of which are apparently active on any given day. The volume of messages sent using the app is also “approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume”. A reported one million new users are signing up every day.
Per its paltry $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, Facebook will keep the WhatsApp brand functioning as a separate entity, albeit under the guidance and supervision of Facebook Inc. The app’s “core messaging product” and Facebook’s existing Messenger service will also continue to coexist as standalone applications.
In a blog post reassuring users that nothing will change, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum writes that “WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication.”
In the unlikely event that the merger falls through, Facebook will still be required to pay WhatsApp a measly one billion dollars.
Cue this line: A billion dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? Sixteen billion dollars.