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Facebook completes $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition

Facebook has confirmed that its acquisition of the popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp has been finalised.

The social network giant announced its intention to acquire the firm back in February, but has only now closed the deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the European Commission.

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Although the price originally quoted when the deal was struck was $19 billion (£11.8 billion) it is thought that the acquisition will now cost Facebook $21.8 billion (£13.5 billion). According to Recode, this is primarily the result of the social network's rising share price.

With the acquisition complete, WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum joins the Facebook board. Like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Koum will receive just $1 a year in wages, but he has received a substantial portion of Facebook shares as part of the deal.

While there have been concerns over what potential changes may be made to the WhatsApp service, it is unlikely that dramatic alterations will be made to the most popular messaging app in the world, at least not initially. Facebook has stated that it plans to operate its recent large-scale acquisitions, such as Instagram and Oculus, largely independently.

Speaking at the time of the purchase earlier in the year, Koum stressed that WhatsApp would remain faithful to the same values that made it successful.

"There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product," he said.

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While it is unlikely that WhatsApp will abandon its $0.99 a year subscription fee, Facebook will have plans in place to further increase the app's popularity. With rapidly growing competitors like China's WeChat and Japan's LINE, Mark Zuckerberg will want WhatsApp to become the first messaging platform to reach one billion users.