Facebook has bought messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion, with an additional $3bn given to WhatsApp’s founders and employees.
It is Facebook’s biggest acquisition to date. Prior to this, its biggest purchase had been the photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.
Facebook has also reportedly offered $3 billion to acquire the photo messaging service Snapchat.
WhatsApp has over 450 million monthly users and is popular as it allows users to send messages over internet connections, avoiding text messaging charges.
WhatsApp founder Jan Koum says he plans to operate the firm ‘independently and autonomously’. He will also become a member of Facebook’s board of directors.