Social media giant Facebook has confirmed it is to takeover mobile messaging specialist WhatsApp in a $16 billion (£9.6bn) deal.
Although the buyout has yet to be fully finalised, Facebook has announced it has reached "a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp."
The company has confirmed that the monumental takeover sum will be made up of $4 billion worth of cash and $12 billion in Facebook stocks.
"WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people," Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in making the announcement. "The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable."
He added: "I've known [WhatsApp co-founder and CEO] Jan [Koum] for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected."
At present WhatsApp has more than 450 million active monthly users, with 70 per cent of this user base utilising the BBM and iMessage rival daily.
With WhatsApp continuing to add more than one million registered users daily, Facebook has confirmed that the messaging service will retain its brand identity and continue to be run independently following the deal.
Speaking out on the deal Koum, who will join Facebook's board of directors stated: “WhatApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide.
He added: We’re excited and honoured to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our products to more people around the world.”
Facebook has suggested that the acquisition will enable the company's "ability to bring connectivity and utility to the world."
The deal is Facebook's latest major acquisition having taken over picture-based social phenomenon Instagram last year.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to hold a keynote conference at MWC 2014 next week, a speech which could offer new details on the company's mobile plans.