Mobile messengers are big business, a simple fact that should surprise no one. Just how big might, however. Via a Facebook post, company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the acquisition of the popular cross-platform messenger app WhatsApp, one that currently enjoys a userbase of 450 million and is increasing at a rate of 1 million per day. Mark states:
Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day.
WhatsApp is a simple, fast and reliable mobile messaging service that is used by over 450 million people on every major mobile platform. More than 1 million people sign up for WhatsApp every day and it is on its way to connecting one billion people. More and more people rely on WhatsApp to communicate with all of their contacts every day.
In its regulatory filing, we learn that the deal is worth a substantial $19 billion; $12B worth of Facebook shares, $3B using restricted stock units, and a further $4B in cash.
As mentioned above, WhatsApp is nearing the half-a-billion mark for users, and the company claims that about 70% of its userbase uses the service daily. It’s no wonder, then, that Facebook was willing to part with such a massive wad of cash, but how it’s going to earn that cash back is going to be the interesting part.
For WhatsApp users upset with Facebook’s purchase, you might be able to find some solace in the fact that Facebook intends to keep the service as independent as possible. However, no one is going to believe that things are going to remain exactly as they are, because even if 100% of WhatsApp users were to shell out the $1/yr for the service, it’d take Facebook a staggering 18 years to earn back its investment. That’s not how things are going to go down.