Facebook Drops $19B to Catch Up Abroad

Facebook Messenger has been getting destroyed in Europe and emerging markets. That's the reason behind Facebook's eye-popping $19 billion purchase of messaging service WhatsApp, announced Wednesday. As TechCrunch points out:


With 450 million monthly users and a million more signing up each day, WhatsApp was just too far ahead in the international mobile messaging race for Facebook Messenger to catch up, as you can see in the 2013 chart above. Facebook either had to surrender the linchpin to mobile social networking abroad, or pony up and acquire WhatsApp before it got any bigger. It chose the latter.

Founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, former Yahoo executives, WhatsApp sees around 70 percent of its 450 million users active on a daily basis. The New York Times broke down the numbers to Facebook paying $40 per user. 

Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been circling WhatsApp for the past 2 to 3 years and pulled the trigger before the price went any higher.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect one billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected,” he added, referring to Koum, WhatsApp’s chief executive.

Facebook may have lost out on SnapChat, but the company is in a better position now to gain the world, at least in terms of the messaging market.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

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