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商业 - 科技

Facebook天价收购WhatsApp之谜

Jessi Hempel 2014年02月20日

Facebook刚刚宣布,计划以160亿美元的天价收购移动通讯应用公司WhatsApp。此外,它还将向WhatsApp员工和创始人提供价值30亿美元的限制性股票,从而使这笔收购的总价值飙升到190亿美元的天文数字。Facebook为什么舍得花这么多钱收购这家公司?

    还记得2012年的那一幕吗?当时一款发展迅猛、名叫Instagram的照片分享软件被以十亿美元的出价收购,大家觉得那是很大一笔银子。现在看来,这笔钱实在不值一提。Facebook公司刚刚宣布,计划以至少16倍于Instagram收购价的天价收购移动通讯应用公司WhatsApp。此外还要加上给WhatsApp员工和创始人的30亿美元限制性股票,从而使收购总价飙升到190亿美元。

    作为这笔交易的一部分,WhatsApp联合创始人兼首席执行官让•库姆将加入Facebook董事会。同时,与Instagram当初的情况一样,WhatsApp也将继续在自有品牌下独立运营。

    Facebook之所以对这家公司这么感兴趣,可能主要和这家公司飞速增长的态势以及其深厚的用户基础有关。WhatsApp号称目前有4.5亿名活跃用户,这是过去九个月里增长一倍多达到的数字。更重要的是,超过70%的用户每天都会登录。而且,WhatsApp在国际用户中尤其受欢迎。

    这笔交易中的大赢家将是红杉资本(Sequoia)。2011年,这家风投公司向WhatsApp投资了800万美元——也是它唯一募得的风投。红杉资本的合伙人吉姆•乔茨主导了这笔投资,同时进入了这家公司的董事会。他在一篇博客文章中描述过,WhatsApp公司的企业文化是多么富于自律精神,而库姆和联合创始人布莱恩•阿克顿对广告又是多么避之不及(他写道:“让的桌子上贴着一张布莱恩给他的小纸条,上面写着‘不要广告!不要游戏!不要噱头!’”)。相反,他们只专注于为用户提供简单易用的通讯体验。这项服务第一年免费,此后也只需要每年一美元。他还着重指出,WhatsApp的增长可谓突飞猛进,而且从没有在营销上花过一分钱。

    乔茨表示,Facebook已向亚伦和库姆保证,WhatsApp可以保持不植入广告的状态,也不用牺牲自己的商业原则。而库姆在董事会的位置可能会帮助他确保这一点。(财富中文网)

    译者:清远

    

    Remember back in 2012 when a billion dollars seemed like a lot of money to pay for a fast-growing photosharing app called Instagram? Turns out, that's nothing. Facebook (FB) has just announced plans to purchase mobile messaging service WhatsApp for at least sixteen times that. The company will pay an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp employees and founders, bringing Facebook's total cost to $19 billion.

    As part of the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook Board of Directors. And just as with Instagram, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently under its own brand.

    Facebook's strong interest in the service likely has to do with the fast clip at which WhatsApp is growing, as well as its deep user engagement. The serviced boasts 450 million active users, a number that has more than doubled over the past nine months. What's more, more than 70% of them log on every single day. And WhatsApp is particularly popular with international users.

    A major winner in this deal will be Sequoia, the venture capital firm that invested $8 million in the company—the only venture funding raised—back in 2011. In a blog post, Sequoia partner Jim Goetz, who led the investment and sits on the board, describes a disciplined company culture in which Koum and cofounder Brian Acton eschew ads ("Jan keeps a note from Brian taped to his desk that reads 'No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!'" writes Goetz) and instead focus on a simple messaging experience that is free for the first year and then costs just a dollar a year. He points out that WhatsApp's growth has been entirely viral; the company hasn't spent a cent on marketing.

    Goetz says Facebook has assured Aaron and Koum that WhatsApp can remain ad free and they will not have to compromise their business principles. Koum's board seat will likely help him insure this.

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