Thursday, 20 February 2014
Google reportedly offered $10 billion for WhatsApp
Facebook’s surprise $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp yesterday might not have been part of the only offer the messaging company received. Fortune reports that Google offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion. In a brief report on the rumored offer, Fortune notes that two separate sources have confirmed Google offered to purchase WhatsApp, but it’s unclear exactly when the search giant attempted to arrange a deal. The bid reportedly came without a promise of a Google board seat, unlike Facebook’s agreement.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg proposed the purchase to WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum on February 9th, with a finalized deal ready a few days later. Business Insider reports that Koum visited Zuckerberg’s home on Valentine’s Day, interrupting a private dinner, and agreed the deal before finalizing the details and pricing "over chocolate covered strawberries." Koum will now take a place at Facebook’s board, and has promised "nothing" will change for users immediately as Facebook plans to run WhatsApp independently, much like Instagram. WhatsApp is used by over 450 million people every month to send instant messages on mobile devices. Its impressive growth has caught the attention of Facebook and Google, but with stiff competition from other messaging apps the race is still on to replace texting.
Facebook not only made headlines on Wednesday with its acquisition of WhatsApp, but also might have annoyed some folks in Mountain View.
At the same time that Facebook was wooing WhatsApp, Google offered to acquire the messaging service for $10 billion, Fortune reported Thursday, citing multiple people who claimed to have knowledge of those negotiations. Unlike Facebook, Google wasn't willing to offer a seat on the board of directors, according to Fortune.
Facebook announced a blockbuster deal on Wednesday, saying that it would pay an eventual total of $19 billion to acquire the WhatsApp messaging service. Facebook believes that WhatsApp, which with 450 million users has nearly twice the reach of social darling Twitter, could hit 1 billion active users in the next couple of years, making it a grand opportunity for the social network.
For its part, Google hasn't confirmed that it actually attempted to acquire WhatsApp. However, last year, reports surfaced suggesting that Google was in talks with WhatsApp to acquire the company for $1 billion. WhatsApp quickly threw cold water on those rumors.