Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion

Wow. Facebook has filed a document with the SEC confirming that the company has purchased the popular messaging client WhatsApp for $16 billion in cash and stock. According to the filing, Whatsapp currently has 450 million people currently using the service each month, with 70% of those active each day. Here’s what the respective CEOs had to say about the purchase:

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “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.”

Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said, “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”

The acquisition will be provide WhatsApp $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing. Obviously, we’ll have more as this story develops, but it’s clear that Facebook is willing to spend whatever sum is necessary to protect its user base from fleeing to emerging communication services.

WhatsApp is currently available on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian and Windows Phone.