In SEC filings released today, Facebook is acquiring cross-platform mobile messaging startup WhatsApp for a monumental $16 billion, almost ten times the acquisition price of Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube.
WhatsApp is a widely used messaging app that circumvents the fees imposed by SMS, along with the platform lock-in on networks like BBM and iMessage. According to the filings, WhatsApp enjoys over 450 million monthly users, 70% of whom access the service every day.
Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said, “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”
The acquisition is the latest in Facebook’s foray into mobile, following the $1 billion purchase of Instagram, along with its in-house launch of the critically acclaimed Paper app for iOS.
Almost half of Facebook users access the service exclusively through mobile, reports TechCrunch. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has called the social network “a mobile company now,” and the latest purchase of WhatsApp signals the company’s redoubled commitment to the space.