Facebook to buy Whatsapp for R209 billion

Facebook Inc will buy fast-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, as the world’s largest social network looks for ways to boost its popularity, especially among a younger crowd.

Facebook said on Wednesday it will pay $4 billion in cash and about $12 billion in stock in its single largest acquisition, dwarfing the $1 billion it paid for photo-sharing app Instagram.

Shares in Facebook slid 5 percent to $64.70 after hours, from a close of $68.06 on the Nasdaq.

As part of the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and Chief Executive Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board, and the social network will grant an additional $3 billion worth of restricted stock units to WhatsApp’s founders, including Koum.

Also, Facebook promised to keep the WhatsApp brand and service, and pledged a $1 billion cash break-up fee were the deal to fall through.

Facebook was advised by Allen & Co, while WhatApp has enlisted Morgan Stanley for the deal.

(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Andrew Hay)

Update: Reuters has issued numerous updates since the original publication of this story, in which it reports that the deal includes an additional $3 billion in restricted Facebook stock for WhatsApp founders and employees. Our headline has been changed to reflect this new information.

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Facebook to buy Whatsapp for R209 billion