The social network will get WhatsApp's 450 million deep customer base to the tune of $19 billion in cash and stock.

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

February 19, 2014

1 Min Read
Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B

In what will be its biggest acquisition ever, Facebook announced Wednesday that it's spending more than $16 billion to acquire the over-the-top messaging provider WhatsApp.

Facebook said in an SEC filing that it's splashing down $16 billion in cash and stock, as well as $3 billion in restricted stock for employees of the communications provider, which offers an app for free texting, group chats, and content sharing.

We've said in the past that WhatsApp would be a dream partner for a wireless operator looking to make a serious OTT play, but now it's another opportunity lost to a social network. (See Operators Can't Kik the OTT Habit.)

And it's a big opportunity, at that -- WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users, 70% of which use the app more than once a day. Users send half a billion photos, 200 million voice messages, and 100 million videos over its network-riding service every single day.

WhatsApp, once a staunch Facebook competitor and rumored acquisition target for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), might butt heads with its new owner on how to treat mobile ads. Facebook says WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, but whether it will remain ad free is another question. (See WhatsApps' $1B Message and Mobile Ads Rack Up Cash, Social Status.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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