WhatsApp passed on Google's $10 billion offer before Facebook deal

WhatsApp was snagged by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion last night, however, sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Google had initially offered a $10 billion deal for the popular cross-platform messaging service.

Fortune magazine has reported that Google offered $10 billion for WhatsApp, but the deal did not include a board seat as with the Facebook deal. It's hard to tell whether that was the reason behind the deal not materializing between the two companies, but in the end WhatsApp seems to have got a much better one with Facebook.

WhatsApp has been a very popular messaging service on smartphones in recent years, boasting 450 million users and is reportedly larger than Twitter in terms of user base. As it was a direct competitor to Facebook and Google on the instant messaging front with its presence on all mobile platforms, it was obvious that one or more of the technology giants would be interested in acquiring WhatsApp. 

Source: Fortune | Image via FirstPost

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Is it not free for the first year then $.99 thereafter? Apparently this 'valuation' makes every use worth the equivalent of $45.....ridiculous if you ask me!
What tangible assets do they have apart from their user base? Surely were looking at another bubble in the tech industry!

At $19 billion, that a lot of advertising revenue required to make up for that, considering Motorola mobile didn't even sell for near that. I still can't fathom the idea of a Messenger app selling for $19,000,000,000. I'm one of those "450 Million users" but stopped using it long ago, now that it's associated with facebook,, I may have change my conta ct info on whats app. Heaven forbid I get more Candy Crush, or other silly facebook game invites as txt messages now. I'm almost at the decision point of deleting my facebook account.

I hear people are running from Whatsapp to whatever chat app there is in the market like hell.
This may be a very expensive investment for Facebook.

People don't like Facebook owning Whatsapp and think of it as a major privacy issue.

InsaneNutter said,
I guess 450 million monthly users is worth that sort of money, great for the guys who created WhatsApp.

Yeah its great for them but stupid that this sort of stuff gets valued so highly.

They build a standard messaging app, uses an 'unconventional business model' and got a lot of users. However this unconventional business model was ''(practically) free and no ads''. Which explains how Whatsapp could stand out in the first place.

Something like that shouldn't be worth 19 billion. Especially not when you consider how fast the tech market is changing. Does Facebook plan to buy the 'next best thing' for 19 billion every four years?

warwagon said,
19 Billion? Is it April 1st?

Why is a messenger app worth 19 billion?

This is just getting stupid now.

It's 19 billion because Facebook is feeling desperate. They feel this way because, supposedly, they are losing young teenage users to chat apps like WhatsApp and SnapChat.

Let's not forget, Facebook has their own IM service where anyone with just a phone number can easily be part of. Apparently that failed, since Zuckerberg was interested in acquiring SnapChat.

LOL...to go 9 billion over what Google was offering (to me) tells you how badly Facebook wanted a new IM system.

VictorWho said,

LOL...to go 9 billion over what Google was offering (to me) tells you how badly Facebook wanted a new IM system.

They probably weren't told what Google bid... only that Google was bidding... and were bidding more than Pi billion this time.

warwagon said,
19 Billion? Is it April 1st?

Why is a messenger app worth 19 billion?

This is just getting stupid now.


Keep in mind that it is not $19 billion in cash, the break down should be the following:
$4 billion in cash
$12 billion worth of Facebook shares.
An additional $3 billion in restricted stock units granted to WhatsApp's founders and employees that will vest over a period of four years from the closing date

warwagon said,
19 Billion? Is it April 1st?

Why is a messenger app worth 19 billion?

This is just getting stupid now.


Apparently WhatsApp's messaging volume is approaching the gobal total SMS volume. That means purchasing WhatsApp is equivalent to purchasing the SMS services of AT&T, T-Mo, Sprint, Verizon, China Mobile, and all the carriers around the world.

What is so great/special about WhatsApp? I installed it once before on both Android and iOS, but I did not find anything that hooks people together. At least Tango has games you can play with your friends.

Plus, WhatsApp is not really free...either the app itself not free..or now it has in-app purchases.. but it has been awhile since I tried it, so maybe I am missing out on something.

Update: just noticed on their web site that there is this group chat feature..and even sharing your location.. nah. I don't use any of that.. none of my best friends use WhatsApp either, so that's why.

Update2: okay, I remember that it supports exchange of SMS without incurring extra costs. but Google Voice can do the same thing, plus you get an extra number from Google. There is also Heywire, and SendHub... anyway.. just don't see what makes WhatsApp more attractive than others.

Edited by ThunderRiver, Feb 20 2014, 2:47pm :

Always been free on Android, and in app purchases? Never ever seen anything like that. Been using it for over a year.

As for Google Voice, not everywhere can use Google Voice or get a number from them. Here in the UK we're still waiting for that service.

I think one "hook" is that so many use it. They supposedly have 400 million users and it's almost ubiquitous in some places, "the" go-to messaging app. Facebook was ready to spend a lot on this because you just don't get 400 million users easily at all. A smaller messaging app is put at a disadvantage regardless if it's awesome since no one likes to nag friends about joining it, especially not if they're already using something else. Then it's more likely people will just go with the flow.

artnada said,
Always been free on Android, and in app purchases? Never ever seen anything like that. Been using it for over a year.

As for Google Voice, not everywhere can use Google Voice or get a number from them. Here in the UK we're still waiting for that service.

There is nothing (aside from breaking Google ToU, but who cares?) that prevents you from asking a friend in US to create an account for you with a Google number. Got any US friends? (if not, VPN works just as great)

Also, last I checked, they were trying to convert their customer into paid customers. And yes, I was referring to the iOS version

Northgrove said,
I think one "hook" is that so many use it. They supposedly have 400 million users and it's almost ubiquitous in some places, "the" go-to messaging app. Facebook was ready to spend a lot on this because you just don't get 400 million users easily at all. A smaller messaging app is put at a disadvantage regardless if it's awesome since no one likes to nag friends about joining it, especially not if they're already using something else. Then it's more likely people will just go with the flow.

well, just how many are "active" users?

The first year of Whatsapp is free, then it's a whopping $1 to keep using it forever. The "hook" is that it uses your phone number as your identifiers, so everyone in your contacts that has Whatsapp installed is automatically available to message. You don't have to exchange usernames or sign up for another service.

That being said, I prefer Facebook messenger because...STICKERS. ^_^

what Whatsapp lacks is desktop apps, something Facebook can bridge.

what Facebook messenger lacks is ubiquitous mobile use - Whatsapp brings 300+ million active users.

on paper, Whatsapp and Facebook should be a good combination.

As long as they don't do to WhatsApp what they did to their Android stand alone messaging app. It's awful.

It usually takes around 20 minutes to get any messages my contacts have sent. By then, they think I'm ignoring them and have gone orf!

artnada said,
As long as they don't do to WhatsApp what they did to their Android stand alone messaging app. It's awful.

It usually takes around 20 minutes to get any messages my contacts have sent. By then, they think I'm ignoring them and have gone orf!

I only have that issue if I answer messages on another platform, as soon as I start responding to them on PC or something my phone will stop notifying me. Until I close Facebook on the PC and open the phone.

My only gripe with Facebook Messenger is they removed the SMS feature.

artnada said,
As long as they don't do to WhatsApp what they did to their Android stand alone messaging app. It's awful.

It usually takes around 20 minutes to get any messages my contacts have sent. By then, they think I'm ignoring them and have gone orf!

LOL...dude, that's a carrier issue. Who's your carrier? Joe's Wireless?

No it's not. It's always happening with the stand alone app. Doesn't happen with the Facebook app, just the stand alone messaging app.

ichi said,
I feel sorry for Whatsapp, it must suck to have to choose between getting $10billion or $19billion

Jokes aside I think the fact Facebook is saying that they're keeping it as is and not folding it into Facebook or killing the brand played a part in this as well.

I really doubt Google would've done the same, heck I bet it'd have been swallowed into G+.

George P said,

Jokes aside I think the fact Facebook is saying that they're keeping it as is and not folding it into Facebook or killing the brand played a part in this as well.

I really doubt Google would've done the same, heck I bet it'd have been swallowed into G+.

As things stand I can't say I would care either way.

If Google hadn't killed the XMPP based GTalk and Hangouts had been a move towards XMPP federation instead of the opposite then I'd have prefered Google buying Whatsapp (and killing it with fire).

Keeping a locked down chat service like Whatsapp or killing it and choosing between a myriad of different equally closed services. Makes little difference.

Drewidian said,
I'm glad Google didn't get them, but Facebook isn't what I wanted either....

Yeah I mean I was up for it also... but I had a much more "fair" offer.

Yeah kinda hoped MS would put in a bid. Probably not a time for them to be looking at big acquisitions with the Ballmer/Nadella switch so recent.

Still, have to hope FB/Whatsapp work together with MS/Skype on making the best unified messaging/social experience and kill off Google.

Sadelwo said,
The "lesser of two evils" type situation.

Yeah... the question now is who is going to grab Snap Chat and brand it as the least tracked messaging client.

Heartripper said,
WhatsApp for Windows Phone is safe then

yup, one reason i'm glad facebook picked up whatsapp over google.
google would probably have pulled whatsapp from the windows store and that would have just sucked.

Ha, Google probably pulled their offer when they realised WhatsApp had a WP app.

Not that FB shows WP that much love, but hopefully that'll look different when 8.1 comes out.

SK[ said,]Google own Waze which has a WP8 app. It came out after the purchase took place too.

Waze for WP8 was in development before Google bought over Waze.

Deniss said,
I thought it was 16 bn. But yeah I mean 3 bn difference is nothing in this case

I would love to have 1\3 of that "nothing" you speak of.

-adrian- said,
Well - can they not simply sell their stock for the exact same price on that day?

no they cannot. some restrictions are usually put in place as to the time before selling...


also, selling even a small portion of said shares will immediately drive the price down. that is a lot of shares to sell at ones, the stock will plummet