Social media giant Facebook has snapped up the Whatsapp messaging service in a humongous $19bn (£11.4bn): The biggest deal in Facebook's ten-year history.
As part of the agreement, the social media giant will pay $4bn (£2.4bn) in cash for the mobile messaging platform and also $15bn (£9bn) in shares.
WhatsApp is a text communication service, similar to programs such as Skype or Windows Messenger, which allows users to message their friends for free after downloading the app. It uses mobile phone numbers to send text messages between recipients: and as its free, essentially usurps the need for mobile users to pay for texts.
It has been particularly successful as it allows users to not only text friends, but also share pictures and videos as well.
Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said: "WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.
"I've known Jan [Koum founder and CEO] for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected"
Zuckerberg said the move will give Facebook marketers a different angle to consider when investigating its social media marketing opportunities. He added it will complement its chat and messaging services as well as providing new tools for the Facebook community.
Rumours of interest from Facebook and Google in buying WhatsApp had actually circulated for a long time before confirmation of this deal, although Facebook actually officially making the move is certainly a sign of intent from the firm.
WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Stanford alumnus Brian Acton. They met while at Yahoo! in 1997 and launched the service in 2009.
Discussing the deal, Koum added: "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 honoured to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world."
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