Android Chief Denies Reports that Google Inc (GOOG) Bid for WhatsApp


Sandar Pichai, head of Android and Chrome division of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) denied reports that the search engine giant offered to acquire WhatsApp, a cross-platform mobile messaging startup for $10 billion.

“WhatsApp was definitely an exciting product. We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue,” said Pichai at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

The Information reported that Larry Page, CEO of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) met with Jan Koum to prevent him from selling WhatsApp to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) based on information from unidentified sources. According to the site, the sources claimed that Page encouraged Koum to “stay independent” because WhatsApp is a “big threat” to the social network giant.

There were also rumors that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) paid made a strange “right of notice offer” to WhatsApp to pay millions of dollars just to inform the search engine giant whenever it decides to enter into acquisition negotiation with any company. A year ago, there were speculations that the search engine giant offered to acquire WhatsApp for $1 billion, but the startup was playing hardball at the time.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) through Pichai set all those speculations straight, it did not bid for WhatsApp.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) agreed to acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock. Its CEO Mark Zuckerberg believe that the cross-platform mobile messaging startup is worth more than what the company paid for, and emphasized it was a good bet.  “I could be wrong. It could be the one service that reaches 1 billion [users] and doesn’t become valuable,” said Zuckerberg.

WhatsApp has 450 million monthly users, which makes it attractive to some telecommunications carriers. Bloomberg reported that Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE), the largest telecommunications company in Germany and the parent company of T-Mobile US, Inc (NYSE:TMUS) is considering to partner with the company in some markets in Europe such as Romania.