Facebook finalized the acquisition of WhatsApp, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The two companies agreed on the acquisition in February. Until the deal was sealed, the instant messaging app has been running independently. Now Facebook will closely control and support WhatsApp, but no clear development direction has been lied out. WhatsApp’s 70 employees will continue working in Mountain View, California.
Initially, the price was set to $19 billion, but other almost $3 billion have been added as Facebook’s share value increased during the last couple of months. Facebook’s share price was $77.17 at Monday’s opening, Reuters notes.
Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, will have a chair as Facebook director. His salary will be equal to that earned by Mark Zuckerberg, $1. But fear not, because Koum will be able to properly feed his family, as his 24.9 million Facebook stocks worth approximately $1.9 billion.
Former Yahoo employee Brian Acton, the other WhatsApp co-founder, received $3.5 billion.
WhatsApp was launched in 2009 and two years later it was one of the top 20 apps. In February 2013, the service had 200 million active users. One and a half years later, the number reached 600 million. More than 800,000 new users are added every day. No wonder Facebook has been so enthusiastic and ready to pay such an impressive sum to control the app. With a growing user database, Facebook can target its adds more precisely than ever.
Facebook said that WhatsApp will keep operating as a separate entity. But not everyone was enthusiastic about the acquisition. The Federal Trade Commission was skeptical. The European Commission did not welcome the deal initially. After months of analysis, the EU decided that the acquisition respects its antitrust laws.
The EU decided that even though Facebook and WhatsApp are two of the most popular communication apps, they are not the only ones available. “We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market,” the E.U.’s antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia stated, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The FTC warned Facebook through a letter in April that it will keep an eye on the transaction, as “hundreds of millions of users have entrusted their personal information to WhatsApp.”
How do you think Facebook plans to monetize its latest acquisition?