Facebook has completed its acquisition of the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for almost $22 billion, up from the original $19 billion when the cash-and-stock deal was struck early this year thanks in part to the rising price of Facebook shares.
Facebook named WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum to its board on Monday. WhatsApp is by far the largest acquisition for the Menlo Park, California company, and bigger than any deals made by Google, Microsoft or Apple.
“We are looking forward to connecting even more people around the world, and continuing to create value for the people who use WhatsApp,” Facebook said in a statement.
WhatsApp has been growing rapidly, especially in developing countries like Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia, and now has more than 500 million users.
WhatsApp lets users chat with their phone contacts, both one-on-one and in groups. It also allows people to send texts, photos, videos and voice recordings over the Internet and lets them text or call people overseas without heavy charges. Free to use for the first year and costing $1 per year after that, the service has no advertising.