The popular messaging app, WhatsApp, has been acquired by Facebook in a surprising move. In a press release, Facebook unveiled that they had acquired the messaging service for approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares.
“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire WhatsApp and that their entire team will be joining us at Facebook.” commented Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
CEO of WhatsApp Jan Koum, stated, “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.”
With over 450 million users using WhatsApp, and 70% of users active on a daily basis, there is no doubt to me why Facebook wanted to cash in on these numbers. With WhatsApp on the path to connect 1 billion people, Zuckerberg stated that the services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable. The press release also stated that the acquisition supports the two companies shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world. With the acquisition, the combination of the two will help to accelerate growth and user engagement.
Facebook will pay out $4 billion in cash, as well as a staggering 183, 865, 778 of Facebook shares. Upon closing of the deal, Facebook will grant 45,966,444 restricted stock units to WhatsApp employees, valued at an additional $3 billion.
So how does this affect WhatsApp users? For now, WhatsApp will operate independently from Facebook, similar to when Facebook acquired Instagram. Operations will still be maintained in California, and Jan Koum will now join the Facebook Board of Directors. And if you’re worried about the combination of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, the two apps will continue to operate as standalone applications. So don’t expect anything to change any time soon.