DealBook

Facebook Enters $16 Billion Deal for WhatsApp – NYTimes.com

"The frenzy to acquire fast-growing technology start-ups reached new heights on Wednesday as Facebook announced its largest acquisition ever, saying it would pay at least $16 billion for WhatsApp, a text messaging application with 450 million users around the world who pay little or no money for it.

The eye-popping price signals the lengths to which Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, will go to protect his company’s turf as the dominant social network on the web, and is sure to fuel the debate on whether consumer Internet companies are overvalued.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., will pay $4 billion in cash and $12 billion worth of shares for WhatsApp. But the ultimate cost of the deal could rise to $19 billion, with WhatsApp employees and founders receiving an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units, which would vest over the next four years."

This would seem to be classic case of buying out the competition. WhatsApp had a nice and growing following in the mobile area, almost as good as Facebooks.