“Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social network, agreed to purchase mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, the biggest Internet acquisition in more than a decade,” Sarah Frier reports for Bloomberg. “The accord includes $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in restricted shares, Facebook said yesterday in a statement. ”
“It’s the largest Internet deal since Time Warner’s $124 billion merger with AOL in 2001, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. WhatsApp has more than 450 million members, with 1 million users being added daily,” Frier reports. “Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who bought photo-sharing service Instagram for about $700 million in 2012, has been adding applications such as messaging and news to court smartphone and tablet users. WhatsApp, which would be the company’s biggest acquisition, competes with apps from Twitter Inc., Kik Interactive Inc. and Snapchat Inc., the photo-message startup that rebuffed a $3 billion Facebook bid last year.”
“The deal prices WhatsApp at more than half the $31.5 billion market value of microblogging service Twitter, which has 241 million active users,” Frier reports. “‘Facebook is clearly taking out one of its main competitors,’ Paul Sweeney, a Bloomberg Industries analyst, said in an e-mail. ‘They are buying 450 million loyal users and an extraordinary growth story, but at a staggering cost.'”
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Fortune’s Jessi Hempel reports, “Google offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion.”
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MacDailyNews Take: $19 billion is a lot of money.