Facebook paid the value of all NBA teams for WhatsApp

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion ($4 billion cash, $12 billion stock, $3 billion in restricted stock grants that vest over 4 years. Whatsapp has 55 employees.

The average NBA franchise is worth (equity plus debt) $634 million, up 25% over last year. Collectively the 30 teams are worth $19 billion versus $400 million in 1984 when there were 23 teams.

The average value of the purchase was more on a per employee basis than any sports contract for any professional sports.

WhatsApp has grown massively since its inception – in the calendar year 2013 its users sent 18 billion messages and received 36 billion in return – a massive number that is fully three times the previous year’s metrics. But massive growth and a defensible position are two different things – WhatsApp had rivals, from Apple AAPL -1.21%, Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter

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