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Facebook has just announced its purchase of WhatsApp for around $19 billion in cash and stock.
As per the deal, WhatsApp will run semi-independently, much like Instagram. The chat service popular mostly among youngsters will maintain its brand and existing offices, but it will take advantage of Facebook’s expertise, resources and scale. The deal is expected to finalize later this year. WhatsApp already has over 450 million active users every month; combine that with Facebook Messenger and competitors like Line suddenly appear to stand nowhere in comparison.
Facebook reportedly sought to acquire another hot messaging firm, Snapchat, for $3 billion last year. In 2012 Facebook closed its deal for Instagram, worth some $1 billion at the time based on stock value.
The acquisition represents likely the biggest-ever price for a tech startup, trumping the $8.5 billion paid for Skype — which allows users to make voice and video calls over the Internet — byMicrosoft in 2011.