Facebook has agreed to buy the mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion.
Facebook will pay $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in Facebook shares, and WhatsApp's founders and employees will also receive $3 billion in options on Facebook shares after closing the deal. This will give WhatsApp shareholders and staff in total 7.9 per cent of Facebook's outstanding shares.
Facebook will keep the WhatsApp brand and the company's founder Jan Koum will join Facebook's board of directors.
Similar to Instagram, WhatsApp will be allowed to operate independently within Facebook, maintaining its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Facebook will also continue to offer its own Messenger app, which will continue as a standalone application.WhatsApp is one of the most successful of the multiple IP messaging apps growing in popularity with mobile users. The company counts over 450 million active users each month and is adding 1 million registered users each day. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp is on a path to connect one billion people, and any service that does that is 'incredibly valuable'.