Facebook has acquired messaging app WhatsApp, which is said to be its largest acquisition to date, for a staggering $19bn, as the social networking major seeks to lap up its popularity especially among youngsters.
The transaction includes $4bn in cash and $12bn worth of Facebook shares, in addition to $3bn in restricted stock to WhatsApp's founders and employees. The value of the transaction is more than what the social networking company raised in its own IPO.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the acquisition forms part of the company's efforts to make the world more open and connected.
"WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day," Zuckerberg said.
Under the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and chief executive Jan Koum will be inducted to Facebook's board and plans to run the firm 'independently and autonomously'.
Operating independently within Facebook, the deal would not alter WhatsApp's product roadmap and the team will remain at office in Mountain View.
"Over the next few years, we're going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world," Zuckerberg added.
"We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts for Internet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone."
The Silicon Valley startup is rocketing towards about half billion users within five years and adding another million every day, while is also on its way to connecting a billion people across the globe.
WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum said that the deal would allow the company to bring its product to more people around the world.
"WhatsApp's extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide," Koum said.
Prior to the latest acquisition, Facebook's biggest purchase has been online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service Instagram in 2012, while also offered $3bn to buy photo messaging service Snapchat last year.