Facebook announced it is buying WhatsApp, the messaging smartphone service, for $19 billion. WhatsApp lets users text free of charge. Facebook paid $16 billion for WhatsApp, plus an additional $3 billion in restricted stock that will be paid out to WhatsApp employees over the next four years.
Venture capitalists have been eyeing instant messaging technologies like WhatsApp as one of the most promising growth sectors for 2014. Think back to Facebook's $3 billion offer for Snapchat (the one they turned down).