The WhatsApp deal is worth more than Facebook raised in its own initial public offering. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images /AFP
The WhatsApp deal is worth more than Facebook raised in its own initial public offering. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images /AFP

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19bn, consolidates social media empire



Facebook has agreed to buy the mobile-messaging start-up WhatsApp for US$19 billion in cash and stock, in a deal that underscores the popularity of instant messaging and the social media giant's determination to broaden its platform and move into mobile applications.

The acquisition is the biggest tech tie-up in more than a decade since Time Warner merged with AOL in a $124bn deal in 2001. Facebook agreed to pay WhatsApp $4bn in cash, $12bn in stocks and $3bn in restricted shares.

WhatsApp, which allows users to send free instant messages between phones that have different operating systems, has 450 million users and is adding 1 million users a day. It is expected in time to reach 1 billion users, making it the first application other than Facebook to achieve this.

Meanwhile, user growth at Facebook has slowed as younger surfers shun a platform that their parents now use. Facebook acquired the photo-sharing application Instagram for $700 million in 2012.

WhatsApp eschews advertising, focusing rather on user experience. Under the agreement, WhatsApp will continue to operate independently from Facebook and be ad free. This has raised questions about whether the deal offers Facebook shareholders good value.

WhatsApp is free for the first year, then users must pay 99 cents annually for the service. Even with 1 billion users, it will take decades to recoup the investment. Facebooks shares dropped as much as 5.8 per cent in extended trading after the deal was announced on Wednesday, but recovered to end the day 1.1 per cent higher at $68.06. They were trading at $66.60 at 5.20pm on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

“There is a bigger issue here more than the fact of return on investment because Facebook will have a suite of social media products,” said Paul Black, the director of telecoms and media for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at the market intelligence firm IDC. “So if you are using WhatsApp, then are you maybe predominantly inclined to now go to Instagram to share your photos and from Instagram onto Facebook and so on.”

Mayank Garg, the regional head of content at media agency MediaCom, said that the deal, which follows the Japanese online retailer Rakuten’s acquisition of the competing Viber messaging application, will probably catalyse more such mergers.

“The biggest players are going to try to go in and snap up messaging companies – the ones that are really growing,” Mr Garg said.

Kakao, the most popular messaging application in South Korea, is preparing a public share sale that may see it valued at $1bn, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Mr Garg also pointed out that because WhatsApp is linked to the user’s phone, Facebook will now has access to telephone numbers, which can generate “a lot of useful insight”, he said.

lgutcher@thenational.ae

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Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5

Tonight's Chat on The National

Tonight's Chat is a series of online conversations on The National. The series features a diverse range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders from around the Arab world.

Tonight’s Chat host Ricardo Karam is a renowned author and broadcaster with a decades-long career in TV. He has previously interviewed Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Andre Agassi and the late Zaha Hadid, among others. Karam is also the founder of Takreem.

Intellectually curious and thought-provoking, Tonight’s Chat moves the conversation forward.

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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Know your camel milk:
Flavour: Similar to goat’s milk, although less pungent. Vaguely sweet with a subtle, salty aftertaste.
Texture: Smooth and creamy, with a slightly thinner consistency than cow’s milk.
Use it: In your morning coffee, to add flavour to homemade ice cream and milk-heavy desserts, smoothies, spiced camel-milk hot chocolate.
Goes well with: chocolate and caramel, saffron, cardamom and cloves. Also works well with honey and dates.

Meydan racecard:

6.30pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (PA) Group 1 | US$75,000 (Dirt) | 2,200 metres

7.05pm: UAE 1000 Guineas (TB) Listed | $250,000 (D) 1,600m

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Company profile

Company name: Leap
Started: March 2021
Founders: Ziad Toqan and Jamil Khammu
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Funds raised: Undisclosed
Current number of staff: Seven

Kanye West

Ye — the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — has seen his net worth fall to $400 million in recent weeks. That’s a precipitous drop from Bloomberg’s estimates of $6.8 billion at the end of 2021.
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West’s present net worth derives from cash, his music, real estate and a stake in former wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
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Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The Super Mario Bros Movie

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Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
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Yuki Means Happiness
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Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tour Calendar 2018/19

July 29: OTA Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan

Sep 22-23: LA Convention Centre in Los Angeles, US

Nov 16-18: Carioca Arena Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Feb 7-9: Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Mar 9-10: Copper Box Arena in London, UK

Company profile

Name: Back to Games and Boardgame Space

Started: Back to Games (2015); Boardgame Space (Mark Azzam became co-founder in 2017)

Founder: Back to Games (Mr Azzam); Boardgame Space (Mr Azzam and Feras Al Bastaki)

Based: Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Industry: Back to Games (retail); Boardgame Space (wholesale and distribution) 

Funding: Back to Games: self-funded by Mr Azzam with Dh1.3 million; Mr Azzam invested Dh250,000 in Boardgame Space  

Growth: Back to Games: from 300 products in 2015 to 7,000 in 2019; Boardgame Space: from 34 games in 2017 to 3,500 in 2019

FORSPOKEN

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Publisher: Square Enix
Console: PC, PS5
Release date: January

Company of Heroes 3

Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: SEGA
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: February

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Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: March

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Publisher: Warner Bros
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Publisher: Capcom
Console: PS5, XSX, PC
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Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
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Console: PC
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Publisher: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Switch
Release date: September

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Publisher: PlayStation
Console: PS5
Release date: Fall

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Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Console: PC, PS5, XSX, Amazon Luna
Release date: 2023

Starfield

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Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Console: PC, Xbox
Release date: 2023

Profile

Company: Justmop.com

Date started: December 2015

Founders: Kerem Kuyucu and Cagatay Ozcan

Sector: Technology and home services

Based: Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai

Size: 55 employees and 100,000 cleaning requests a month

Funding:  The company’s investors include Collective Spark, Faith Capital Holding, Oak Capital, VentureFriends, and 500 Startups. 

PLAY-OFF DRAW

Barcelona v Manchester United

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The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 456hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 691Nm at 3,500rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 14.6L/100km
Price: from Dh349,545
On sale: now

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

Full list of Emmy 2020 nominations

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
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LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

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Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me
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Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

OUTSTANDING VARIETY/TALK SERIES

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Jason Bateman, Ozark
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Steve Carell, The Morning Show
Brian Cox, Succession
Billy Porter, Pose
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LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
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OUTSTANDING REALITY/COMPETITION PROGRAM

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Nailed It!
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LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

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LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

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OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES

Little Fires Everywhere
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Ozark
Stranger Things
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Directed by: Matt Shakman

Rating: Four stars

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
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Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger technology, a digital system in which data is recorded across multiple places at the same time. Unlike traditional databases, DLTs have no central administrator or centralised data storage. They are transparent because the data is visible and, because they are automatically replicated and impossible to be tampered with, they are secure.

The main difference between blockchain and other forms of DLT is the way data is stored as ‘blocks’ – new transactions are added to the existing ‘chain’ of past transactions, hence the name ‘blockchain’. It is impossible to delete or modify information on the chain due to the replication of blocks across various locations.

Blockchain is mostly associated with cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Due to the inability to tamper with transactions, advocates say this makes the currency more secure and safer than traditional systems. It is maintained by a network of people referred to as ‘miners’, who receive rewards for solving complex mathematical equations that enable transactions to go through.

However, one of the major problems that has come to light has been the presence of illicit material buried in the Bitcoin blockchain, linking it to the dark web.

Other blockchain platforms can offer things like smart contracts, which are automatically implemented when specific conditions from all interested parties are reached, cutting the time involved and the risk of mistakes. Another use could be storing medical records, as patients can be confident their information cannot be changed. The technology can also be used in supply chains, voting and has the potential to used for storing property records.

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
  • Keep track of the job trends in your sector through the news. Apply for job alerts at your dream organisations and the types of jobs you want – LinkedIn uses AI to share similar relevant jobs based on your selections.
  • Double check that you’ve highlighted relevant skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • For most entry-level jobs, your resume will first be filtered by an applicant tracking system for keywords. Look closely at the description of the job you are applying for and mirror the language as much as possible (while being honest and accurate about your skills and experience).
  • Keep your CV professional and in a simple format – make sure you tailor your cover letter and application to the company and role.
  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach outside your immediate friends and family to other acquaintances and let them know you are looking for new opportunities.
  • Make sure you’ve set your LinkedIn profile to signal that you are “open to opportunities”. Also be sure to use LinkedIn to search for people who are still actively hiring by searching for those that have the headline “I’m hiring” or “We’re hiring” in their profile.
  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz

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