Facebook has agreed to buy global messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth as much as $19 billion in cash, stock and restricted shares. WhatsApp, which says it will continue to operate independently, processes 50 billion messages each day and counts 450 million active users, with 70% of those logging in at least once a day. Facebook is "buying 450 million loyal users and an extraordinary growth story, but at a staggering cost," wrote Bloomberg Industries analyst Paul Sweeney.

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