Mobile

Messaging app Whatsapp denies Facebook acquisition rumors

Updated 2pm Pacific: Whatsapp denied the rumors. We’ve updated this post to include its denial.

Whatsapp is refuting rumors that it’s in negotiations for a Facebook buyout. In a statement sent to VentureBeat, the company’s business head Neeraj Arora said, “The TechCrunch article is a rumor and not factually accurate. We have no further information to share at the moment.”

That’s in response to rumors earlier today that Facebook is in negotiations to acquire Whatsapp, a cross-platform messaging service that currently ranks as the No. 2 paid iOS app. The rumors first appeared on TechCrunch.

Multiple sources have told AllThingsD that an acquisition isn’t happening, even though both Google and Facebook have been interested in Whatsapp in the past.

Unlike most social apps, Whatsapp costs 99 cents on iOS — even though it’s free on other platforms like Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. The company announced a year ago that it’s serving 1 billion messages a day, a figure that’s likely significantly higher today.

It’s extremely popular in Europe and Asia as a free alternative to SMS messaging.

There’s no word on how much Facebook might have been willing to spend on Whatsapp, or how far along negotiations got between the two companies, if at all. When reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation, naturally.

The rumors weren’t totally ludicrous. Facebook purchased the group messaging app Beluga last year, which it transformed into Facebook’s standalone Messenger app. But, just like with the $1 billion Instagram purchase, Facebook might have been eyeing Whatsapp more for its massive user base instead of its technology. TechCrunch notes that Whatsapp may have more than 100 million daily active users (probably because it supports feature-phone platforms like Symbian and Nokia S40).

Photo: Johan Larson/Flickr

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