Facebook to buy messaging service WhatsApp for £9.6bn

Facebook will buy mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion (£9.6bn). Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he was "excited" by the deal which would make "the world more open and connected".

EE boss: WhatsApp is not a threat but an opportunity

The CEO of Britain's biggest mobile operator EE, Olaf Swantree, has told Economics Editor Richard Edgar that messaging apps such as WhatsApp are not disruptive as the network "is all about data".

Mr Swantree says EE encourages users to use 4G for a variety of applications and WhatsApp is "not a threat" but an "opportunity to offer 4G to more customers in more places."

More: Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion

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WhatsApp valuation more than Sony or Rolls-Royce

Facebook's buyout of WhatsApp values the messaging service at $19bn when share deals are taken into account - the equivalent of just over £11bn.

That exceeds the market valuation of some huge British and global brands:

Rolls-Royce - engine manufacturer and defence contractor ($18.7bn)

Sony - maker of the PlayStation and other electronics ($17bn)

Burger King - fast food chain ($9bn)

Sainsbury's - supermarket chain ($6.6bn)

ITV - TV channel and media group ($6bn)

Facebook's WhatsApp deal is latest big tech purchase

Facebook's takeover of WhatsApp is the latest move by a large technology company to buy up a smaller social media competitor.

The $16bn (£9.58bn) deal dwarfs Yahoo's purchase of blogging site Tumblr last year for $1.1bn (£720m).

Facebook says the WhatsApp brand will continue Credit: Jens Kalaene/PA

It followed Facebook's $1bn (£659 m) acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012.

More: Facebook's WhatsApp move 'a good survival strategy'

Facebook's WhatsApp move 'a good survival strategy'

The WhatsApp brand will be maintained, and its headquarters will remain in Mountain View, California after the Purchas by Facebook.

WhatsApp co-founder and Chief Executive Jan Koum will join Facebook's board of directors, and WhatsApp's core messaging product and Facebook's existing Messenger app will continue to operate as stand alone applications.

Obviously WhatsApp adds instant messaging to Facebook which must strengthen their position for the moment.

Equally, all app types rise and fade, so established social media formats like Facebook will be overtaken by something new, and picking up candidates that might have ultimately replaced them may be a good survival strategy for a while.

Facebook has been around a while now so the real question is what comes next?

– Professor Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology

The new move from Facebook comes after it recently reported record revenues of 2.5 billion dollars (£1.5 billion) from 750 million daily users.

Facebook to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion

Social networking company Facebook has announced it is to buy mobile messaging company WhatsApp for $16 billion (£9.6bn) in cash and stock.

Facebook has bought WhatsApp for $16bn. Credit: Press Association.

Facebook said WhatsApp co-founder and Chief Executive Jan Koum would be joining the company's board.

WhatsApp co-founder and Chief Executive Jan Koum is to join the Facebook board. Credit: Press Association.

"WhatsApp is on a path to connect one billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"I've known Jan for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected."

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