SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Facebook on Monday completed its buy of mobile messaging application WhatsApp, with the mostly stock deal tallying nearly $22 billion.
The acquisition was given the colossal price tag of $19 billion when the deal was struck in February, but a rise in Facebook shares has pushed the value even higher.
“We are looking forward to connecting even more people around the world, and continuing to create value for the people who use WhatsApp,” Facebook said in a statement emailed to AFP.
Terms of the deal include WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum remaining head of the company and taking a seat on the Facebook board of directors.
Koum’s salary will be one dollar a year, according to a filing Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The symbolic annual pay mirrors that of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton will remain with the company under terms of the acquisition, which promises “inducement grants” of millions of shares of stock that will incrementally vest during the coming four years for Koum and Acton if they remain with the company, according to Facebook.
European Union regulators on Friday cleared the buyout of the WhatsApp mobile messaging service by Facebook, despite opposition by telecom companies afraid of the growing power of US technology giants.
In a statement explaining its approval of the deal, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Facebook and WhatsApp were “not close competitors” and that consumers would continue to have a “wide array of choices”.
“We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, announced the buyout of the WhatsApp messenger service, used by 600 million people, in February and US authorities approved the deal in April.
The buyout included 177 million Facebook shares, plus $4.59 billion in cash. In addition, the social network agreed to provide 45.9 million restricted shares to WhatsApp employees.