Facebook announced today that it reached an agreement to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion, paid in a combination of cash and equity. WhatsApp is a popular mobile messaging startup that makes money not by showing ads or using other typical monetizing avenues, but by charging an annual subscription fee after one year of free use. The fact that the startup is actually profitable may explain the unusually high purchase price, which values WhatsApp at over $42 per user. WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook.
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