Facebook e WhatsApp: un binomio che da oggi è realtà grazie alla mastodontica cifra di 16 miliardi di dollari che il social network più famoso al mondo pagherà in contanti e azioni. La notizia è ufficiale ed è stata confermata anche dallo stesso Mark Zuckerberg sul proprio profilo ufficiale Facebook. Come se non bastasse altri 3 miliardi verranno pagati nei prossimi tre anni ai fondatori e agli impiegati, portando la somma ad un totale di 19 miliardi.
L’anno scorso anche Google avrebbe provato ad acquisire l’azienda leader nel campo della messaggistica instantanea, ma il prezzo di cui si parlava all’epoca (un miliardo di dollari, sempre secondo alcune voci poi smentite) è davvero poca cosa rispetto a quanto annunciato da Facebook, che avrebbe già provato in passato questa acquisizione secondo alcuni rumor.
LEGGI ANCHE: WhatsApp avrebbe più messaggi di Facebook
Quale sarà il futuro di WhatsApp ora? Zuckerberg smentisce prontamente l’ipotesi di una fusione con Messenger, il sistema di chat legato al social network blu, e anche il team resterà “indipendente” rimanendo a Mountain View, dove al momento è la loro sede; Jan Koum, cofondatore e CEO di WhatsApp, gli fa eco dicendo che nulla cambierà per gli utenti, nemmeno il modello commerciale attualmente scelto.
A seguire il comunicato stampa ufficiale dell’azienda di Palo Alto, oltre ad un grafico che testimonia la crescita inarrestabile di WhatsApp nei primi quattro anni rispetto alla concorrenza.
MENLO PARK, CALIF. – February 19, 2014 – Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.
WhatsApp has built a leading and rapidly growing real-time mobile messaging service, with:
Over 450 million people using the service each month;
70% of those people active on a given day;
Messaging volume approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume; and
Continued strong growth, currently adding more than 1 million new registered users per day.
The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp’s shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies.
“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “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.”
Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said, “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”
Facebook fosters an environment where independent-minded entrepreneurs can build companies, set their own direction and focus on growth while also benefiting from Facebook’s expertise, resources and scale. This approach is working well with Instagram, and WhatsApp will operate in this manner. WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained; its headquarters will remain in Mountain View, CA; 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 standalone applications.
Upon closing of the deal, all outstanding shares of WhatsApp capital stock and options to purchase WhatsApp capital stock will be cancelled in exchange for $4 billion in cash and 183,865,778 shares of Facebook Class A common stock (worth $12 billion based on the average closing price of the six trading days preceding February 18, 2014 of $65.2650 per share). In addition, upon closing, Facebook will grant 45,966,444 restricted stock units to WhatsApp employees (worth $3 billion based on the average closing price of the six trading days preceding February 18, 2014 of $65.2650 per share). As of February 17, 2014, Facebook had 2,551,654,996 Class A and B shares outstanding plus approximately 139 million dilutive securities primarily consisting of unvested RSUs. The Class A common stock and RSUs issued to WhatsApp shareholders and employees upon closing will represent 7.9% of Facebook shares based on current shares and RSUs outstanding.
In the event of termination of the Merger Agreement under certain circumstances principally related to a failure to obtain required regulatory approvals, the Merger Agreement provides for Facebook to pay WhatsApp a fee of $1 billion in cash and to issue to WhatsApp a number of shares of Facebook’s Class A common stock equal to $1 billion based on the average closing price of the ten trading days preceding such termination date.
Facebook was advised by Allen & Company LLC and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; and WhatsApp was advised by Morgan Stanley and Fenwick & West, LLP.