In a surprise development, popular instant messaging platform, WhatsApp, whose founders had insisted on not selling, has been sold out to Facebook for about $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. According to the release by Facebook, 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.
About what has changed for the user, WhatsApp says nothing has changed:
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.
The deal, however, will see WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum joining Facebook Board of Directors.
WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.