Not only did WhatsApp turn down a $10 billion acquisition offer from Google, but the messaging service also turned down the search giant’s offer to outbid Facebook. That means WhatsApp could have potentially gotten even more than what Zuckerberg paid, which ended up being $19 billion in cash and stock. Wow.
According to The Information, Google CEO Larry Page met with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last week in an effort to persuade Koum not to agree to the Facebook deal. Page had apparently learned about the deal a few days before, and decided to make a last-ditch pitch. Is Zuckerberg really that much more persuasive than Google’s Larry Page? We don’t have the full details, but it sure appears that way.
Sources close to the discussions claim Page tried to convince Koum to “stay independent,” reiterating what a huge threat WhatsApp was to Facebook’s worldwide dominance. Page allegedly felt that teaming up with Facebook would have an impact on “how things play out for years to come,” The Information said.
Facebook is still the reigning giant for communication, with an enormous mobile presence. But WhatsApp has become a growing threat over the past several months, amassing a user base of 450 million monthly active users; WhatsApp said the platform adds about 1 million users per day. Combine that with users already on Facebook, and you have a hugely powerful coalition that will dominate how people communicate going forward. Perhaps Google feels threatened by acquisition, seeing as it offered even more money than what Facebook offered.