Facebook has agreed to acquire cross-platform instant messaging app WhatsApp for around $16 billion (£9.6 billion). The deal to buy the five-year-old company includes $4 billion in cash and around $12 billion in Facebook shares.
Over 450 million people currently use WhatsApp on their mobile devices each month, with the number of registered users growing at more than 1 million people every day.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, said “WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable. I've known Jan [Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO] for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
WhatsApp will remain as a separate app and a separate brand with its headquarters less than 10 miles away from Facebook in California. Its CEO will join Facebook’s Board of Directors.