Facebook closes acquisition of WhatsApp, as price tag grows to $21.8B

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has officially closed its acquisition of mobile messaging company WhatsApp, according to a filing the social networking giant made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the deal was approved on Friday by the European Commission). Jan Koum, WhatsApp's co-founder and CEO, is now a Facebook board member. Koum will also receive an "inducement grant" of stock currently worth $1.9 billion if he stays with the company for the next four years. As Re/code notes, when the deal was announced in February it had a total price tag of $19 billion, but that has now risen to $21.8 billion, primarily because the value of Facebook stock has increased.

Now that Facebook controls WhatsApp it can potentially integrate WhatsApp's service with the core Facebook social network. However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that not much will change with WhatsApp in the near term, and that the business will be run largely as an independent entity. As The Verge notes, WhatsApp is unlikely to add advertising any time soon or abandon its business model. The over-the-top messaging app, which is more popular in emerging markets than the United States, is free to download and use for the first year. After that, users can purchase access to the service for $1 per year. Article

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