WhatsApp is a ‘great fit,’ Facebook’s CEO statesFacebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said WhatsApp, which his social media company bought last week, was “worth more than $19 billion.”
The mobile-messaging startup was “a great fit for us,” Zuckerberg said Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “Already almost half a billion people love using WhatsApp for messaging, and it’s the most engaging app we’ve ever seen exist on mobile by far.”
The cash-and-stock acquisition was the biggest by Facebook, the world’s largest social network, and the most expensive for an Internet company in more than a decade. The deal gave WhatsApp approximately the same valuation as Gap and more than half the market value of microblogging service Twitter.
The WhatsApp deal will help Facebook play a critical role in connecting more people, Zuckerberg said.
The Mountain View, California-based WhatsApp, which is popular in Europe, lets users send messages through its service on mobile devices based on different operating systems, including Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and BlackBerry’s software. Unlike traditional text messages, which consumers pay for through their phone plans, WhatsApp is free for the first year, and costs $0.99 a year after that.
While Zuckerberg declined to comment when asked whether he would make a bid for Snapchat, he said that after a large deal such as WhatsApp, “you’re probably done for a while.”
While WhatsApp had low revenues, it would be worth more because of its strategic value, huge business potential to double its users and its fit with Facebook. Zuckerberg also said he’s seeking three to five phone companies as partners in an effort to connect billions of people who don’t yet have Internet access.