‪Facebook buys WhatsApp for N3.1 trillion ‬

WhatsApp Co-founder becomes a member of Facebook’s board.

‪Social networking giant, Facebook, has bought messaging app, WhatsApp, in a deal worth a total of N3.1 trillion in cash and shares.

It is Facebook’s biggest acquisition to date and will see WhatsApp’s Co-founder, Jan Koum, become a member of Facebook’s board of directors.

The deal includes N656 billion in cash and approximately N1.9 trillion worth of Facebook shares, plus an additional N492 billion in stock to WhatsApp’s founders and employees at a later date.

“We’re excited and honoured to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world,” Mr. Koum said in a statement.

Mr. Koum said he plans to operate the firm “independently and autonomously”.

In a statement announcing the deal, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, described WhatsApp’s services as “incredibly valuable”,  but insisted he had no plans to place advertising on WhatsApp’s interface, saying he did not think ads were the best way to make money from instant messaging systems.

Mr. Zuckerberg said the quest to buy WhatsApp was started only 11 days ago.

WhatsApp offers alternative to BlackBerry chat and text messaging. It allows users to send messages over internet connections, avoiding text messaging fees.  WhatsApp claims it is currently registering one million new users a day and  has over 450 million monthly active users. Facebook believes WhatsApp will hit a billion users in no time.

It makes money by charging users a subscription fee of N160 or the equivalent of $1 per year, after offering the first year for free.

Once the deal is finalised, Mr. Koum and co-founder Brian Acton will become Silicon Valley’s newest billionaires.

WhatsApp started five years ago and has 55 employees in total.

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