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whatsface

6 things you might not know about the Facebook, WhatsApp deal

whatsface

Ronan Steyn: Staff Reporter
Ronan Steyn has a love for all things technology, with a particular focus on startups, gadgets and games. When not writing the good write, he can be... More

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The inevitable happened… Facebook bought an instant messaging service. After its denied attempt at purchasing SnapChat way back when in internet time, Mark Zuckerberg and co can breathe a sigh of relief at having acquired WhatsApp — albeit for US$19-billion — the popular messaging service with around 450-million monthly active users.

According to Bloomberg, the acquisition paid for in cash (US$4-billion), stock (US$12-billion) and shares (US$3-billion), is the biggest internet acquisition in more than ten years since Time Warner’s merger deal with AOL in 2001 for US$124-billion. Let’s take a closer look at the deal, because there are some fun and interesting facts about “WhatsFace.”

1. Co-founder Brian Acton was denied a job at Facebook

Back in 2009, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton — pre-WhatsApp — applied for a job at Facebook. He didn’t get the post, and signified the occasion with this tweet:


Turns out taking rejection on the chin and looking to the future can pay off in dividends… and stocks and shares.

2. It’s potentially a better deal for Facebook user-for-user, than the Instagram acquisition

When Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012 for US$1-billion people thought that was a fair chunk of money to dole out. Now dishing out US$19-billion seems like a staggering increase, but it might not be as much as you think.

When Facebook bought Instagram, the social photo-sharing service had around 30-million users. At US$1-billion for 30 million users means that Facebook paid US$33.33 per user. With the WhatsApp deal that equates to US$19-billion for roughly 450 million users at US$44.22 per user (or US$35 if you ignore the US$3-billion in shares given to WhatsApp’s founders and employees) — that’s not too much more money per head for more than ten times the users.

3. US$19-billion is more than:

Jamaica’s GDP and almost double Zimbabwe’s.

4. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum signed the deal where he used to collect welfare

According to Forbes, Brian Acton, Jan Koam, as well as VC Jim Goetz (Sequoia), drove from WhatsApp’s offices to a nearby abandoned building where Koum used to collect food stamps to put pen to paper on the deal. Born in a small village outside Kiev, Ukraine, our guess is that Koum chose the spot to signify what life once was, and what he has achieved since.

5. Google wanted to know about any talks

About six months ago, WhatsApp was approached by Google, because it wanted to be informed about any acquisition talks with other companies, reports The Information. Turns out WhatsApp rebuffed the offer.

6. With US$19-billion you could buy…

All the Bitcoins in the world, a few times over.