Facebook buys WhatsApp: the $16 billion quest to conquer messaging


Facebook shocked Silicon Valley and Wall Street alike in February 2014 when it announced it would acquire WhatsApp, a global mobile messaging app, for a staggering $16 billion, plus another $3 billion in options. But with a firm commitment not to advertise and to maintain its own stand alone product, WhatsApp has a murky path ahead as it begins its journey into the bowels of the Facebook empire. Follow all the latest news from one of the biggest deals in tech history so far.

8 updates and 1197 comments below.

Apr 22 4:05p

WhatsApp now has 500 million active users

WhatsApp just announced that its messaging app is now used by 500 million people around the world. And those are all described as "regular, active" users, another sign of the company's soaring growth — and the loyalty of its community. When Facebook announced plans to acquire WhatsApp in February, the service had already crossed 450 million active users, so it's quickly jumped by tens of millions since then. The fastest recent growth has occurred in Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia,...

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Mar 17 4:34p

WhatsApp founder says privacy concerns after Facebook buyout are 'unfounded'

Facebook's $16 billion buyout of WhatsApp last month was quickly followed by speculation about privacy for the app's more than 450 million users, given Facebook's own checkered history with privacy. Co-founder Jan Koum wrote on the WhatsApp blog today to "set the record straight," describing speculation about the acquisition undermining how the company treats user data as not only "baseless" but "irresponsible."

Koum writes that WhatsApp was built "around the goal of knowing as little about...

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Mar 05 3:47a

How Mark Zuckerberg wooed WhatsApp

Announced on February 19th, Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp was a deal sealed between the two company CEOs a few days earlier, though it took years of amicable courtship to reach the accord. Forbes has taken a look at the relationship between WhatsApp's Jan Koum and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in the buildup to their momentous agreement. It all started with an email from Zuckerberg in the spring of 2012 and culminated with an accepted takeover offer on the Facebook boss' couch a...

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Feb 24 7:47a

WhatsApp will add voice calls later this year

Plenty have been wondering what's next for WhatsApp after the popular messaging service was purchased by Facebook for $16 billion last week, and now we have the answer: voice calls. According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp announced during a Mobile World Congress event today that it would be adding voice services to iOS and Android during the second quarter of the year. The feature will reportedly head to Nokia devices and BlackBerrys sometime after that.

Feb 20 7:37p

A brief history of WhatsApp's success involves food stamps and IKEA

While unlikely to become a movie, WhatsApp's $16 billion-plus sale to Facebook yesterday marks one of the biggest tech deals ever, and one that bears some resemblance to the working class success stories told by Horatio Alger. A new feature story in Forbes chronicles how co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton managed to do it all while squeaking by in WhatsApp's early days, and for Koum long before that. The short version: it wasn't easy.

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Google reportedly offered $10 billion for WhatsApp

Facebook’s surprise $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp yesterday might not have been part of the only offer the messaging company received. Fortune reports that Google offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion. In a brief report on the rumored offer, Fortune notes that two separate sources have confirmed Google offered to purchase WhatsApp, but it’s unclear exactly when the search giant attempted to arrange a deal. The bid reportedly came without a promise of a Google board seat, unlike...

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Feb 19 9:48p

Connect or die: why Facebook needed WhatsApp

When Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to "connect the world’s people," it’s not some gentle, humanist statement. Zuckerberg intends to own the communications layer of the world we live in — if today’s $16-plus billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp is any indication. Facebook grew up inventing the world’s leading social network for sharing with everyone you know, and it now owns what could be called the world’s largest private social network. Between the two companies, about 1 billion...

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For WhatsApp's lone investor, Facebook deal is one of the biggest wins in startup history

News broke earlier today that Facebook was buying popular messaging app WhatsApp for $16 billion, and while the social media giant ingesting yet another company is certainly news unto itself, the deal marks what could be one of the most successful venture capital investment deals of all time. Sequoia Capital reportedly invested a mere $8 million in WhatsApp back in 2011 — and while startups commonly raise subsequent rounds of funding amongst several investors, WhatsApp never announced any...

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Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $16 billion

Facebook has entered into an agreement to purchase WhatsApp, the massively popular messaging client, for $16 billion in cash and stock. A document filed with the SEC today confirms the huge purchase. As was the case with Instagram, the company says WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the acquisition — separate from Facebook Messenger — but claims the deal "accelerates Facebook’s ability to bring connectivity and utility to the world." Facebook is also throwing in an extra $3...

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