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Zuckerberg’s Facebook Buys WhatsApp For $19 Billion

February 21, 2014 By:
JTA
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Mobile messaging service WhatsApp has been sold for a reported $19 billion. Screenshot.

Facebook will buy the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, the company announced.

“No one in the history of the world has ever done something like this,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said during a conference call on Feb. 19, Reuters reported.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, 38, grew up a Jewish and “a rebellious little kid” in a poor village outside of Kiev, Wired reported. Koum and his mother immigrated to the United States when he was 16 to escape the “troubling political and anti-Semitic environment,” Forbes reported on Feb. 19.

“A lot of what I experienced growing up in the USSR and coming to the United States as an immigrant actually reflects itself in Whatsapp,” Koum said in an interview with the Times of Israel. “Experiences from our youth shape what we do later in life.”

Zuckerberg, who also is Jewish, took to his Facebook page to express the similarities between the two.

“I’ve also known Jan for a long time, and I know that we both share the vision of making the world more open and connected,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The purchase in $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock and $3 billion in restricted stock, is the company’s largest acquisition ever, and bigger than any acquisitions ever made by Google, Microsoft or Apple, according to the Associated Press. It is equal to about 11 percent of Facebook’s market value.

WhatsApp, a free mobile messaging service similar to texting, currently has 450 million users, with an additional million joining every day, according to reports. Users pay a $1 yearly fee to use the WhatsApp app; the first year is free.

Facebook said that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the purchase.

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