When we’re talking about Facebook and messaging acquisitions, Snapchat is the name that first comes to mind, following the much-publicized news last fall that Snapchat turned down a $3B offer from the social network. Since then we’ve been wondering in the back of our minds if Facebook might take another stab at buying the company, or at least go after some of its competition. Tonight we get news that Facebook has indeed gone ahead with plans to purchase a smartphone messaging service, but it’s not Snapchat this time around; instead, Facebook has announced an arrangement that will see it acquire WhatsApp in a $19B deal.
That breaks down to $4B in cash (itself a larger figure than the Snapchat offer), $12B in Facebook stock, and another $3B in stock for WhatsApp’s employees. Any way you slice it, that’s a hell of a lot better than the rumored $1B Google was looking to pay last year.
What does this mean for WhatsApp? Facebook insists that the company will operate independently from Facebook itself, and will keep its name – this isn’t about to be rolled-up into Facebook Messenger, or anything like that. Really, expect a situation much like what Instagram went through following its own acquisition by Facebook.
WhatsApp has a user base of about 450M, which works out to a sale price of a little over $42 per user, if you want to look at the deal that way.