Facebook is flexing its financial muscle to buy a greater portion of consumers’ digital lives. The social media giant said it would pay $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash, to acquire messaging company WhatsApp.

About 450 million people use the real-time mobile messaging service each month, with 70 percent of those users active on a given day. The company is adding more than 1 million registered users each day and its messaging volume approaches that of the global telecom SMS message volume.

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive officer. “The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.”

WhatsApp will operate independently under the Facebook umbrella, much like Instagram does.

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