Facebook has entered into an agreement to acquire WhatsApp, the popular messaging app, for $16 billion in cash and stock, according to a filing Wednesday.
The deal is by far Facebook’s largest acquisition to date and comes after rumors in late 2012 and early 2013 that Facebook and Google were vying to buy the messaging service.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. “I’ve known Jan [Koum, WhatsApp cofounder] for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”
According to the filing, Facebook has agreed to pay $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash for the company. Facebook has also agreed to pay an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to WhatsApp’s founders and employees as part of the deal, which would bring the total deal price to about $19 billion.
If the deal doesn’t go through, Facebook will pay a breakup fee of $1 billion to WhatsApp, which is still more than the total amount Facebook ended up paying to acquire Instagram.
Facebook stock declined by more than 4.5% in after hours trading following the announcement.
This story is developing…