Facebook has announced that it is going to buy the mobile instant messaging service WhatsApp for $16bn (£9.6bn) in cash and stock.
The app, which has 450 million users, is another way to send instant messages at no cost, but Facebook already has its own means of doing that.
The deal for WhatsApp includes 183,865,778 shares of Facebook stock, valued at $12 billion, along with $4 billion in cash. Once the acquisition closes, Facebook has promised to grant 45,966,444 restricted stock units (RSUs) to WhatsApp founders and employees, tacking on an additional $3 billion in value to the deal. The additional RSUs will vest over four years following closing.
In a status update, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote:
“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire WhatsApp and that their entire team will be joining us at Facebook,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a postpublished to Facebook. “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day.”
WhatsApp has 450 million monthly active users, more than 70 percent of whom are active on a daily basis, Facebook said in apress release. The service is also adding 1 million new registered users per day. The application will, much like Instagram, remain independent from its new parent company.