The $19 billion deal to sell WhatsApp Inc. to Facebook Inc. (FB) started at Yahoo! Inc. more than five years ago, when Jan Koum became disillusioned at the way Internet companies were fixated on advertising.
He left Yahoo in 2007 with one of the company’s other engineers, Brian Acton, and started a company by 2009 that shuns advertising altogether. The strategy allowed them to concentrate on creating an easy-to-use messaging product instead of developing new ways to glean customer information for their marketing pitches, Koum said in a 2012 blog post.
“No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow,” Koum said in the post. A hand-written note on the his desk reads: “No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!”
Facebook just announced it’s buying WhatsApp, a global messaging platform with 450 million MAUs, for approximately $19 billion. It’s one of the biggest tech acquisitions since HP bought Compaq for $25 billion in 2001.
It means that WhatsApp, which raised a comparatively measly $8 million since its 2011 launch, is now worth nearly $20 billion.
Remember the good old days, when we all raised our eyebrows at the $1 billion Instagram acquisition? Or Lenovo purchasing Motorola Mobility for $2.9 billion?
Simpler times.Since $19 billion is a ridiculously large amount of money to wrap our heads around, we decided to compare that to other ridiculously valuable things, companies and people.
$19 billion is…
- 4x the market cap of BlackBerry
- Approximately one-third the market cap of Ford
- 2.8x the market cap of GroupOn
- Effectively equal to the market cap of The Gap
- Slightly more than Sony’s market cap around 10 percent
- Around three-fourths the market cap of Delta
- 7.5 Mark Cubans
- Almost precisely one-third of HP’s market cap
- 2 nuclear submarines
- 62 percent of Twitter’s market cap
- 76,000 trips to space on Virgin Galactic
- Almost 60 percent of Sprint’s market cap
- 25 Instagram acquisitions
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr drove an unprecedented amount of traffic to retail sites in Q4 2013 with revenue-per-visit (RPV) increasing across all social channels.
However, Pinterest is taking swift advantage of Facebook’s slowing growth by achieving a 50% quarter-over-quarter increase in RPV.
That’s not to say that Facebook didn’t end 2013 in a big way. In fact it broke multiple records as per usual.
These findings come from Adobe’s recently released social intelligence report for Q4 2013. The report reveals an otherwise massive end of year for Facebook with click-through-rate (CTR) up 365% year-over-year and 41% quarter-over-quarter.
This follows another recent report from Kenshoo revealing that Facebook ads drove a 60% increase in sales revenue in the same quarter.
However, as stated at the top of the page, things are certainly not all rosy for Facebook, with other social media networks asserting their positions and overtaking Facebook in key areas.