Facebook buys WhatsApp: what the analysts say

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Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) has announced it is to buy the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19bn. Here is what some analsysts said of the deal

Greg Sterling at Opus Research

The size of this deal is really massive and it will get people talking about a bubble. [It is a risk for Facebook because] in social media you have a flavour of the month, and next year we might have another app with extremely rapid growth. I think [the high price tag] comes from the frustration of not being able to buy Snapchat, and then there is the youth factor. Facebook really needs to have vehicles to attract younger users, and Instagram is not going to do that by itself. [Facebook] is becoming a kind of holding company for different social media properties that appeal to different groups.

= Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies =

When you have a stock like that [Facebook[ which has run up quickly and created a lot of paper value, it's good to trade that for other value.

= Prof Will Stewart at the Institution of Engineering and Technology =

Obviously WhatsApp adds instant messaging to Facebook, which must strengthen their position for the moment. Equally, all app types rise and fade, so established social media formats like Facebook will be overtaken by something new, and picking up candidates that might have ultimately replaced them may be a good survival strategy for a while. This does show the growing significance of mobile, though of course Facebook is on mobile anyway. But, Facebook has been around a while now so the real question is what comes next?

= Benedict Evans at Andreessen Horowitz =

With WhatsApp, they’ve bought the clear leader [in mobile messaging] with a massive base of users and continuing really strong growth. The elemental point is mobile is much bigger than the desktop and things can happen much quicker 30-odd guys can get to 450m users [in less than five years].

= Marcos Sanchez, vice-president of App Annie =

This is the new generation of messaging services. Facebook understands there is a generational shift in the way people connect. Younger users seem to prefer something more ephemeral, something that changes moment by moment. WhatsApp gives Facebook a major player in that space.