Even in this era of multibillion-dollar valuations for tech startups that have barely moved out of the founders’ parents’ basement, the idea ofFacebook paying $19 billion for a mobile messaging service seems simply insane.
But that’s what Facebook likely will be spending toacquire WhatsApp, the latest–well, not even actually the latest–social network and communications service. The company today announced the deal, which includes $12 billion in Facebook stock, $4 billion in cash, and up to $3 billion in restricted Facebook stock units to be granted to WhatsApp founders and employees over a four-year vesting period.
Why so much for a service that a lot of people have never even heard of? Because it’s growing really, really fast–faster, in fact, than just about any similar service to date, including Facebook. More than 450 million people are using the service monthly, and 70% of them are active on any given day, according to Facebook’spress release. More than 1 million more are registering to use it every day.
Most stunning, WhatsApp messaging volume is apparently approaching the entire worldwide SMS messaging volume of mobile carriers. That’s the kind of growth Facebook, whose own messaging service has been growing rapidly but nothing like that, simply can’t ignore.
Via Philippe J DEWOST