WhatsApp, also called WhatsApp Messenger, is one of the world’s largest single instant messaging software apps.
With over 2.5 billion users, it’s no surprise that investors are looking at WhatsApp stock as an opportunity to strengthen their portfolios.
WhatsApp is currently used in the US and various other countries, including Europe and some Asian nations.
Demands remain high for WhatsApp, as it is used on many platforms and is available on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.
In other words, almost every current mobile device can download WhatsApp.
In 2018, WhatsApp developed a separate WhatsApp Business App that allowed companies to communicate directly to their clients using the WhatsApp messaging platform.
Overall, it’s an excellent bit of tech that many would like to purchase on the stock market, especially as it seems poised to grow rather than downsize.
But can you buy WhatsApp stock?
Yes and no.
Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about how to trade stock for this popular app.
What Is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp was founded by former Yahoo! employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum.
They began development in January 2009 after they purchased an iPhone and decided to make an app that would dominate a specific niche in the App Store market: messaging.
Earlier messaging apps were far from ideal and lacked certain features we take for granted today, such as showing the status of people involved in communication.
Actor and Koum brought in Alex Fishman, who connected the pair to the Russian developer Igor Solomennikov.
Together, this team began developing what would eventually be called WhatsApp.
The team chose the name because it sounds like “what’s up!” which matched the conversational appeal they wanted in their app.
WhatsApp was incorporated as WhatsApp, Inc. in 2009 in California.
In June of the same year, Apple launched its push notifications update, which became an integral part of the WhatsApp development cycle.
Over time, more and more developers joined the WhatsApp team, and former friends of the developers from Yahoo! invested over $250,000 in seed funding to get the start-up off the ground.
The app spent lots of time in the beta stage, undergoing extensive testing and bug quashing.
Although WhatsApp initially began as a free app, it was changed to a paid service to cover the costs of sending verification messages to users.
December 2009 also saw a new picture messaging feature added to the iOS version of WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Messenger app very quickly grew over the following years.
By 2011, WhatsApp was one of the top 20 apps found on the App Store for US markets.
January 2013 saw WhatsApp grow to include over 200 million active users when the app was overseen by just 50 staff members.
This drew the attention of the social media giant Facebook, which wanted to acquire the company for two reasons: to prevent competition with its own messaging service and to take advantage of WhatsApp’s data collection capabilities.
Facebook bid quite generously to acquire the young company, paying $4 billion in cash to many of the original developers and another $12 billion in Facebook shares.
Another $3 billion in restricted stock units were granted to Acton and Koum, the original founders of WhatsApp.
Who Owns WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is fully owned by Facebook (Meta), a major social media and Internet data company based in Silicon Valley, California.
Facebook Meta is one of the most profitable social media stocks you can purchase, and buying stock in Meta also means you buy stock in WhatsApp.
Facebook first purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for a price of $19.3 billion.
At the time of the purchase, WhatsApp only had 200 million users.
But Facebook had confidence in the messaging app and believed that its user base would skyrocket.
Indeed, by January 15, 2015, WhatsApp had over 700 million users worldwide.
Even today, it’s one of the largest messaging services in the world and is a strong competitor to traditional text messages.
What Is WhatsApp Worth?
The WhatsApp team has not rested on its laurels.
As of January 18, 2016, WhatsApp no longer charges $1 annual subscription fees from its users.
Furthermore, the app stopped displaying third-party advertisements and added new features, such as the above-mentioned WhatsApp Business version.
Although WhatsApp’s journey is far from over, it still hasn’t undergone an IPO, as its founders decided to sell the company to Facebook before it became a tech giant in its own right.
While this may be disappointing for investors looking to get into the messaging app industry specifically, you can still invest in WhatsApp by investing in Facebook, its parent company.
Being owned by Facebook/Meta does not protect the internet company from problems, however.
Recently, WhatsApp and many other interconnected apps operated by the social networking giant Facebook went down for almost an entire day, becoming a national news story.
Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and other social media apps went down.
Users suffered outages and had trouble accessing any of Facebook’s services.
While Facebook tweeted updates to calm nerves throughout the day, many users were frustrated that several interconnected apps crashed.
Facebook’s stock slipped about 5% after the news broke but has since rebounded and gone up even further.
What Is WhatsApp Revenue?
Originally, WhatsApp earned $1 per year per user.
It did away with that revenue model several years ago, however, and is now completely free.
Meta (Facebook) does not reveal the financial details of WhatsApp, but Forbes estimates the company has revenue potential of over $5 billion.
Many believe that Meta’s true valuation of the company lies in the ability to gather personal information and behavioral data from users.
Why Is WhatsApp Successful?
WhatsApp Messenger is largely successful due to the popularity of its instant messaging service.
SMS text messages are expensive in some countries, and WhatsApp provided a free alternative for users.
This freeware and cross-platform app lets users send both text and voice messages, as well as share documents, images, video calls, share their locations, and transmit other types of content.
In other words, it’s a messaging app that does practically everything.
Users can download WhatsApp and never have to download another transmitting or messaging app whatsoever.
The client runs primarily on mobile devices but can also run on desktop computers.
Timing is everything, and because it was the first app of its kind, WhatsApp already had a huge user base by the time the majority of the public caught on.
WhatsApp has been helped by Facebook’s digital infrastructure and technical support, which ensures that the platform is stable and consistent 24/7.
Be sure to research WhatsApp in-depth before buying Facebook stock on any of the major stock markets.
Can You Buy WhatsApp Stock?
At the moment, it’s not possible to buy WhatsApp stock by itself.
This company is owned fully by Meta (formerly Facebook), and it didn’t undergo an IPO or initial public offering before its acquisition.
So there aren’t any dedicated WhatsApp stock shares on the market.
However, you can technically purchase stock in WhatsApp by purchasing stock from its parent company.
At the moment, Meta is listed on the NASDAQ with stock ticker symbol FB.
Because you can’t buy WhatsApp directly, it’s important to consider whether you want to own stock in Facebook overall.
There’s lots of discussion surrounding the role of Facebook in modern society, though the stock’s price is as high as it ever has been despite this.
The parent company does have some interesting rollouts in the following years, like Facebook Reality Labs, which helps you tap into a bunch of markets at once.
What Is the Facebook or WhatsApp Stock Symbol?
The WhatsApp brand does not have a dedicated stock price and symbol, so you won’t find WhatsApp shares on a trading platform.
You cannot invest in WhatsApp directly.
Instead, you can buy Facebook shares with the stock code FB.
While it’s not the same as buying WhatsApp stocks directly, investing in Meta Inc. is a very appealing alternative.
Meta/Facebook also owns Instagram if you need another reason to invest.
What Is the Facebook or WhatsApp Stock Price?
The Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB) stock price per share varies widely as with any large publicly traded company.
Over the last 52 weeks, it has ranged in price from $185-$384.
WhatsApp Competitors to Buy with Your Brokerage Account
Many people don’t want to invest in Facebook amid allegations of privacy intrusions or because they think the social media giant’s era of domination is coming to an end.
Whatever your reasons, there are solid competitors to choose from if you want to spend your investment funds elsewhere.
Keep reading for more information about each company.
Slack (NYSE: WORK)
Slack is rapidly becoming one of the most go-to workplace communication suites in the industry, offering text and image-based messaging for small businesses, remote workers, and everyone in between.
Like other companies in this guide, Slack stands out as an excellent stock due to its potential for long-term growth.
Even better, this corporation is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and throughout 2020, it saw record earnings.
Even though growth has slowed as workplaces have returned to normal, the advent of remote work will never fully be undone.
Therefore, it could be a good choice to invest in Slack; odds are this software will only become more popular and ubiquitous throughout industries, not less.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
Naturally, you can always go with the other major search engine and Internet company aside from Facebook: Google.
Though Google is technically owned by its parent company Alphabet, Inc., it’s publicly listed on the NASDAQ, so you can pick up shares for it without having to purchase shares in its parent company.
However, be aware that Google’s share price is astronomical relative to other stocks.
You may want to see if your broker allows you to purchase partial shares, or potentially invest in a fund rather than buy shares outright.
But if you can get yourself a piece of this particular pie, it has shown the potential for serious returns.
Skype (NASDAQ: MSFT)
Lastly, you might want to consider investing in Skype as an alternative to WhatsApp stock.
Like other stocks mentioned in this guide, you can’t directly invest in this messaging and video conferencing software, but you can invest in Microsoft, as this parent company owns Skype.
Investing in such a surefire company as Microsoft could be a good way to stash your money away to create a nest egg for the future.
Or you can simply invest in Microsoft, as the company continues to lead the charge in the telecommunications and computer software spheres.
Either way, Skype serves many of the same purposes as WhatsApp, with a slightly different focus, which could make it a suitable alternative if you don’t want to quasi-invest in WhatsApp Stock through Facebook.
Can You Buy WhatsApp Stock: Final Thoughts
All in all, WhatsApp stock may not be available, but Facebook/Meta stock is a low-risk alternative that shows no sign of slowing down.
Regardless of how you feel about Facebook or what you think about their stock price, it’s safe to say that Facebook’s stock could be a solid investment for anyone looking for long-term growth rather than a quick profit.
Do your research and consider whether you want to invest in WhatsApp through Meta before putting your money down.
WhatsApp also has many strong contenders for alternative investment options, including Slack, Google, and Skype.