Google reportedly offered $10 billion for WhatsApp, but were shot down

February 20, 2014
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A new report suggests that sometime before Facebook acquired WhatsApp, Google made an offer to snatch up the messaging service. The amount offered? A still-staggering $10 billion. WhatsApp clearly passed on the offer, but there are more interesting wrinkles to Google’s courtship.


According to a separate report by The Information, Google offered to pay a fee to WhatsApp for notifications on whether or not other offers had been made. In doing so, Google would have the notice required to make a counter-offer, essentially creating a bidding war for WhatsApp. This is pretty standard fare for companies that have already agreed to acquire a company, but it’s not something we’ve heard of when it comes to negotiations.

The timeframe of Google’s original offer isn’t known, but The Information notes the talks between Google and WhatsApp took place around six months ago — likely the same time Zuckerberg and company began talks with the messaging service. To their credit, WhatsApp declined to accept Google’s offer to keep them notified of any other negotiations. At some point, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum had dinner with Zuckerberg, and discussions began. The result of those talks is already known.

This is definitely interesting news. Google and Facebook were also said to be rivals in courting Snapchat, which neither ended up with. A WhatsApp acquisition may have been adjunct discussions, or the next phase in the quest for a messaging platform for both companies. While nobody really knows the inside story, here, one thing is curious to us; why didn’t WhatsApp at least pursue a Google acquisition? Maybe Google isn’t right for everyone.


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  • ⚽Edgar Michel⚽

    I flew away from Whatsapp last year. I was not going to pay for a service that I would get for free elsewhere. Now 19 billion were paid not for the company or the app. They paid 19 billion for all the data saved in Whatsapp’s servers.

  • Terry

    This story is not believable. Google just rolled out hangouts as their unified messaging solution. And took no small amount of grief for making it a proprietary protocol instead of SIP (which is open mostly because no one wants to own it or admit they built it). Whatsapp does not seem to have any place within the google infrastructure. Conversely facebook seems to be just buying any successful company before the money runs out. Integrating this mess will be next decades problem.