Facebook has agreed to buy the mobile messaging company WhatsApp for $19bn (£11.4bn), the social network has announced. The company said in a statement that it would pay $4bn (£2.4bn) in cash and $15bn (£9bn) in Facebook shares as part of the deal.
The app’s founders and employees will get $3bn (£1.8bn) of the shares as restricted stock that will vest over four years after the deal closes. The purchase marks the largest single acquisition in Facebook’s 10-year history.
WhatsApp is a real-time mobile messaging service with more than 450 million monthly users. The app has more than one million new registered users each day. WhatsApp will “continue to operate independently and retain its brand” despite the acquisition, Facebook said.