Facebook has acquired one of the leading cross-platform messaging clients, WhatsApp, for $16 billion, making this its largest acquisition since 2012, when the social networking site purchased the photo sharing app Instagram for $1 billion.
Facebook is paying $4 billion in cash and $12 billion worth of Facebook shares in addition to the $3 billion in stock that will vest over four years to WhatsApp’s founders and employees, according to its press release.
WhatsApp has over 450 million monthly active users, and adds over 1 million new ones every day. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, was excited about the partnership. “WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people,” Zuckerberg said. “The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.”
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and “retain its brand,” according to Facebook’s press release, though Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO, will join Facebook’s Board of Directors.
“WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide,” said Koum. “We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”