Social networking site Facebook has just made its biggest-ever acquisition, paying over $16 billion for mobile messaging service WhatsApp. With over 450 million monthly users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app available today, taking in as many as an extra 1 million new users per day.
Founded in Santa Clara, California in 2009, WhatsApp went from relative obscurity to transmitting over a billion messages a day in only a few short years. The cross-platform app is completely free of ads and comes without a charge for the first year of service, charging under $1 for each following year. It’s thanks to features like these that WhatsApp was able to triple its daily user activity in only 1 year, from 100 million daily active users in December 2012, to 320 million in 2013.
WhatsApps’ meteoric rise has obviously got Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the team at Facebook convinced that the app is worth investing in, pouring $4 billion in cash and $12 billion worth of company stocks into the deal. As part of the acquisition, Facebook will also dole out an additional $3 billion in stocks to WhatsApp’s founders and employees at some point in the future.