Facebook is betting huge on mobile with an eye-popping cash-and-stock deal worth up to $19 billion for Internet Age smartphone messaging service WhatsApp.
The surprise, mega-deal announced on Wednesday bolsters the world's biggest social network -- which has more than 1.2 billion members -- with the 450-million-strong WhatsApp, which will be operated independently with its own board.
It fits with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's focus on being at the center of lifestyles in which billions of people around the world share whatever they wish over the Internet using smartphones or tablets.
It is Facebook's biggest acquisition and comes less than two years after the California-based Internet star raised $16 billion in the richest tech sector public stock offering.
Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp -- a cross-platform mobile app which allows users to exchange messages without having to pay telecom charges -- was worth the steep price because its blistering growth around the globe has it on a clear path to hit a billion users and beyond.
"Services with a billion people using them are all incredibly valuable," Zuckerberg said while discussing the purchase price during a conference call with analysts.
CLICK HERE for more.