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This Day In Market History: Facebook's WhatsApp Purchase Is The Largest Buyout Of A VC-Backed Company

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Elizabeth Balboa
·1 min read
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened: On Feb. 19, 2014, Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) bought the five-year-old WhatsApp for $19.6 billion in cash and stock.

Where The Market Was: The S&P 500 closed down at 1,828.75, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day at 16,040.56.

What Else Was Going On In The World: Russia was racking up medals on its home course at the Sochi Winter Olympics, and the Ukrainian Revolution had just begun with violent protests.

Facebook Makes A Massive Purchase: Tencent had pursued WhatsApp back in 2014, but health-related hold-ups gave Facebook time to intervene. CEO Mark Zuckerberg doubled Tencent’s intended offer and set a record for the most expensive purchase of a venture-capital-backed firm. At the time, the $19.6 billion sum surpassed the GDPs of 150 national economies.

A few years earlier, Facebook had paid just $1 billion for Instagram, and a year later, it would buy Oculus VR for $3 billion. Some suggest its most expensive purchase was one of its best.

WhatsApp positioned the Facebook brand to penetrate developing markets and top the global communication industry.

The parent company recently invested in enhancing WhatsApp services and integrating them into the Facebook ecosystem.

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