If you thought this was another Twitter hoax, I’m afraid you are mistaken and the rumours are true. Facebook is indeed going to buy the popular messaging behemoth WhatsApp for $16 billion yes that’s right $16 billion that consists of $12B in Facebook shares and $4B in cash.
You can find all the information on the Facebook Blog whilst the fine print can be found at the regulatory filing. The people at Facebook are quick to stop anyone panicking by speaking about the Instagram business model to quell any speculation.
“Facebook fosters an environment where independent-minded entrepreneurs can build companies, set their own direction and focus on growth while also benefiting from Facebook’s expertise, resources and scale. This approach is working well with Instagram, and WhatsApp will operate in this manner. WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained; its headquarters will remain in Mountain View, CA; Jan Koum will join Facebook’s Board of Directors; and WhatsApp’s core messaging product and Facebook’s existing Messenger app will continue to operate as standalone applications.”
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable” said Zuckerberg. This huge deal will allow Facebook to devour a fast-growing cross-platform mobile messaging company that rivals its Facebook Messenger.
What do the people at WhatsApp think of this, I hear you scream? Step forward Jan Koum who quickly wants to put everybody’s mind at ease on the WhatsApp blog by stating the following:
“Almost five years ago we started WhatsApp with a simple mission: building a cool product used globally by everybody. Nothing else mattered to us.
Today we are announcing a partnership with Facebook that will allow us to continue on that simple mission. Doing this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”
The only loser in all this is possibly the people behind Snapchat, who rebuffed a $3 billion offer from Facebook last year and must now be licking their wounds muttering stories of “what if…” whist drinking a whiskey out of a dirty glass at the end of a bar.
Whatever your thoughts, this is by far the biggest acquisition we could have imagined and just like that David Bowie release last year, we didn’t even see it coming.