When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in the fall of 2014 for a whopping $19 billion, it shocked Silicon Valley and the rest of the tech world. At that time, the instant messaging service had 600 million monthly active users, almost no venture capital, and zero monetization. Plus, that amount seemed huge. Just a year before, Facebook itself had made a failed buyout offer to another emerging app for $3 billion. However, WhatsApp went on to become one of Facebook s greatest buys, and is currently used by over 1.2 billion people daily. Also Read - WhatsApp's latest update for Android, iOS in India: Ability to import third-party sticker packs, and moreAlso Read - WhatsApp to get a new design for media footer on Android, here's how it looks
Back then it was reported that the landmark deal had been sealed between Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp founder Jan Koum at the former s house over drinks and dinner. Now, a new report has emerged in Bloomberg that has unearthed more behind-the-scenes details of possibly the biggest deal in modern tech. ALSO READ: How to run multiple WhatsApp, Facebook accounts on your Android smartphone
The report suggests that Chinese internet giant Tencent, which owns WeChat that boasts over a billion users, had been eyeing WhatsApp in early 2014. However, Zuck managed to beat Tencent to the deal as a back surgery kept Tencent CEO Pony Ma from travelling to San Francisco and making an offer to WhatsApp. Facebook doubled Tencent s potential offer and successfully brokered a deal by the end of February.
It is believed that Tencent s failure to buy WhatsApp has somewhat checked its global march. While it has taken giant strides in China, the world s largest internet market, and made investments in India too (Flipkart), global domination is still a far cry. Facebook, on the other hand, had missed the boat on Snapchat — the startup it wanted to acquire for a mere $3 billion. And didn’t want to miss out on WhatsApp.
Had Facebook waited, it could have lost WhatsAapp to Google that was struggling to make a mark in the instant messaging world after Hangouts failed to take off. If Google had acquired WhatsApp, it would have been worrisome for Facebook. Because WhatsApp has allowed the social networking giant to have a huge market advantage pretty much everywhere outside China.” ALSO READ: Facebook, Instagram lead to a decline in Snapchat downloads: Report
Facebook reportedly hurried into (well almost) another deal in 2014 when it bought virtual reality company Oculus. In its bid to outdo mobile phone giants Apple and Google, Facebook wanted to finish the Oculus deal over a single weekend. However, the deal got delayed for organizational reasons. And three years later, it has mired Facebook in lawsuits as Oculus stands accused of IP theft from a company called ZeniMax. WhatsApp though continues to give Facebook a lot of joy and global reach.