Tipping the scales at nearly 1 billion users strong, WhatsApp is one of the world’s most widely used messaging apps. Apparently that also means it’s worth an exorbitant sum of money to someone like Facebook who has just agreed to buy WhatsApp for the whopping sum of $16 billion ($4 billion cash and around $12 billion in Facebook shares) and another $3 billion over time. That’s only a little more than the $3 billion in cash they reportedly offered to buy Snapchat.
As was the case with Instagram, Facebook promises the 2 companies will continue to operate separately, with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum finding himself in a new position on Facebook’s board of directors. This move helps the social networking giant extend its reach beyond that of a simple social network, with Facebook hoping to “accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies.”
It’s too early to say what changes will be made if any, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed “sponsored text messages” will be left out of the equation.