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Before WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook this week for some $19 billion in cash and stock, the messaging service was being aggressively pursued by search giant Google, which reportedly offered $10 billion and also made a unique offer in attempt to ensure it wouldn't be outbid.
Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will acquire the popular online messaging app for $16 billion in cash and stock, plus an additional $3 billion worth of restricted stock units. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believes WhatsApp, which boasts 450 million active monthly users, is on a path to 1 billion users, making the company "incredibly valuable."
Another company that found WhatsApp worth a considerable sum was Google, which apparently offered $10 billion to acquire the company before the Facebook deal was struck, according to Jessi Hempel of Fortune. And while Facebook's deal comes with a board seat for WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, Google's offer reportedly did not.
But Google's pursuit of WhatsApp didn't stop there, as the search giant also made an "odd" offer to the service more than six months ago, according to The Information. Google was apparently willing to potentially pay millions of dollars to WhatsApp just for the right to be notified if and when it entered into acquisition talks with other companies.
Google's so-called "right-of-notice" offer to WhatsApp is said to be a unique negotiating tactic the company employs to be alerted about potential startup acquisitions. The strategy was reportedly employed after Google was caught off-guard by Facebook's $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2012.
As of Thursday, WhatsApp ranks as the No. 6 most popular free application available on the iPhone App Store. With more than 5,000 user rankings, it's earned an average score of four-and-a-half out of five stars.
Nearly a year ago, Google was rumored to be well into negotiations with WhatsApp, and was allegedly considering a $1 billion price tag for the cross-platform messaging app. At the time it was claimed that the WhatsApp team was playing "hardball" in negotiations with Google.
Without advertisements, WhatsApp managed to pull in considerable revenue with a simple annual subscription fee. Users who download the application get the first year free, and pay $0.99 per year after that.
Both Facebook and Google already have their own popular messaging clients, with Google Talk available to users of Gmail and other services from the company, while all Facebook users have access to the social network's Messenger service.