(CNN, Feb. 19, 2014) — In a play to become the dominant messaging platform, Facebook acquired WhatsApp on Wednesday for $19 billion.
Facebook (FB, Fortune 500) said it will pay WhatsApp $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stock. WhatsApp’s founders and employees will be eligible for for another $3 billion in stock grants to be paid out if they remain employed by Facebook for four years.
WhatsApp has upwards of 450 million users. It is adding an additional million users every day, making it one of the largest messaging services on the planet. Facebook, meanwhile, has been making moves to promote its own messaging services in recent years, even releasing a standalone app for mobile devices. It’s acquisition of WhatsApp will only strengthen its position in the messaging ecosystem.