Facebook completes purchase of WhatsApp


(JTA) — Facebook completed its purchase of the the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for nearly $22 billion in cash and stock.

The transaction was completed on Monday, with Facebook paying about $2 billion more than when the deal was announced in February due to a rise in its share price.

Facebook named WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum, a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant, to its board.

Koum, 38, and his mother left Kiev for the United States when he was 16 to escape the “troubling political and anti-Semitic environment,” according to Forbes.

“I’ve also known Jan for a long time, and I know that we both share the vision of making the world more open and connected,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who also is Jewish, wrote on his Facebook page when the deal was first announced.

WhatsApp, a free mobile messaging service similar to texting, has more than 450 million users, with an additional million joining every day, according to reports. Users pay a $1 yearly fee to use the WhatsApp app; the first year is free.

Facebook said when the purchase was announced that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the purchase.

The merger was approved by U.S. antitrust authorities in April and by the European Union on Friday.


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