Connect with us

FEATURED

WhatsApp: Facebook acquires messaging service in $19bn deal

Published

on

Massive purchase is Facebook’s largest ever and comes after Google reportedly made $1bn offer for the company last year

facebook-whatsapp00323Facebook announced the purchase of the mobile messaging service WhatsApp on Wednesday, in a $19bn deal that represents the social media company’s biggest acquisition yet.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, described five-year-old WhatsApp as an “incredibly valuable” service that was well on its way to connecting 1 billion people around the world.

The deal is a big bet for Facebook, which has until recently struggled to convince investors of its strategy for mobile.

WhatsApp has more than 400m users around the world and claims it is adding more than 1 million new registered users a day. It allows unlimited free text-messaging and picture sending between users and is among the world’s most downloaded mobile apps. Facebook’s successful bid comes after Google reportedly made a $1bn offer for the company last year.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “I’ve known Jan [Koum founder and CEO] for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”

Koum said: “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honoured to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”

Facebook is making the purchase in a mix of cash and stock. WhatsApp will receive $12bn in Facebook shares $4bn in cash and an additional $3bn in restricted shares that will be paid out to executives at a later date. The company will operate as an autonomous unit.

The company’s ownership structure has not been disclosed but one Silicon Valley source said he believed WhatsApp employed fewer than 100 people. “Probably five people are going to be rich beyond belief, the rest are going to be rich and there’s an admin assistant who right now is picking out the colour of her Lamborghini,” he said.

The massive acquisition – Facebook’s largest ever – comes as tech firms are fighting to build their mobile businesses. WhatsApp is particularly big in Europe and Latin America where its market penetration is thought to top 80% in countries including Brazil, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

Last year Facebook made an unsuccessful $3bn bid for SnapChat, a service that sends messages that erase themselves after a short period. The social media firm is making the move as WeChat, owned by China’s Tencent, is rapidly building its service in the west.

“This is the new generation of messaging services,” said Marcos Sanchez, vice president of App Annie, an analyst specialising in mobile technology. “Facebook understands there is a generational shift in the way people connect.”

Facebook faltered after its share sale in May 2012 as analysts worried the company was losing out as its users moved to mobile. It has since recovered and has concentrating on building up its mobile business. But the company has also warned that teenagers are cooling on its service.

Sanchez said that the “social messaging” services like WhatsApp, WeChat and Snapchat were attracting a younger audience. In China the services have even been linked to bank accounts and can be used to make purchases at stores and restaurants including McDonalds.

“Younger users seem to prefer something more ephemeral, something that changes moment by moment,” he said. “WhatsApp gives Facebook a major player in that space.”

The WhatsApp purchase price marks a new height in an increasingly frenzied technology scene. On Tuesday King, maker of the phenomenally popular Candy Crush Saga mobile game, announced a stock market floatation that would value the firm at more than $5.5bn. Last month Google paid $3.2bn for Nest, maker of “smart” home appliances like thermostats and burglar alarms.

Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton met while at Yahoo in 1997 and launched the service in 2009. By 2011 users were sending more than a billion essages a day on the service.

“Doctors in India are using WhatsApp to instantly send electrocardiogram pictures of patients who’ve suffered heart attacks, saving valuable time and potentially lives,” Koum wrote on the company blog last year. “In the mountains of Madrid, rescuers used WhatsApp to locate and save lost hikers. And today, as I follow the unfolding political crisis in Ukraine, the place where I was born and lived until the age of sixteen, I can’t help but hope that the next great WhatsApp story will be about people using the service to speak their mind and stand up for their basic rights.”

 

Facts about WhatsApp

$19bn – Price being paid by Facebook

55 – number of WhatsApp founders and employees

450m – number of people using the service each month

70% – proportion of those users active on a given day

1m – new registered users per day

1bn – WhatsApp’s target for number of users

19bn – messages sent via WhatsApp each day

34bn – messages received via WhatsApp each day

$1.82 – the amount by whicvh Facebook shares fell after the deal

$2bn – the ‘break fee’ Facebook will pay to WhatsApp if the deal fails to go through

2009 – year WhatsApp was founded

$1bn – value of Facebook’s previous biggest deal, Instagram

 

FEATURED

USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

Published

on

USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

Continue Reading

FEATURED

Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

Published

on

Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

Continue Reading

FEATURED

Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Published

on

Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

Continue Reading

Trending