Monday 11 December 2017

WhatsApp 'turned down Google in favour of Facebook' despite higher offer

Google reported to have offered more than $19bn in last ditch attempt to lure Whatsapp

Larry Page, Google chief executive, said: ‘It's time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way.’
Larry Page, Google chief executive, said: ‘It's time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way.’
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Rhiannon Williams

Google is reported to have offered to buy WhatsApp in a last-ditch attempt for more than $19bn, but was refused by the WhatsApp co-founders.

Jan Koum and Brian Acton are said to have turned down Google's offer in the belief the company was only interested in obtaining WhatsApp to keep it out of Facebook's hands.

The Information has reported that Google CEO Larry Page met with Koum a few days after Mark Zuckerberg had pitched to purchase WhatsApp and for Koum to join his board of directors.

Page supposedly told Koum to stay independent, as WhatsApp was "a big threat to Facebook". A source claiming to be involved in the deal said Page mentioned how joining Facebook would have a major impact on "how things play out for years to come".

Another speculated reason WhatsApp declined Google's offer is that Koum was not offered a seat on its board of directors, unlike Facebook.

Facebook is alleged to have approached WhatsApp some six months ago, offering to pay the startup in exchange for being notified of any acquisition talks it may enter into with other companies, which WhatsApp declined.

A Google source reportedly said WhatsApp misunderstood Page's intentions, and that he was merely encouraging them to maintain their independence.

Cross-platform instant messaging mobile app WhatsApp allows users to send messages and share pictures and audio via the internet for free.

The deal gives Facebook access to the 450 million people who use WhatsApp’s service every month, effectively turning one of its biggest potential threats into a valuable ally.

The total amount of $19bn consists of $4bn in cash, $12bn in Facebook shares and $3bn restricted stock awards for WhatsApp’s founders and employees.

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