Google reportedly offered to acquire WhatsApp for $10 billion (update)

While WhatsApp just agreed to a $19 billion acquisition deal with Facebook, the social network wasn't the first to approach the messaging service with a very generous proposal. According to Forbes, Google offered $10 billion to acquire the app. Though it's not clear exactly when Mountain View proposed this deal, sources said the offer didn't come with the promise of a board seat, unlike Facebook's agreement.

One thing is clear, though: Google was apparently so set on keeping WhatsApp within its reach that it offered the startup money to be informed if any other companies approached it with acquisition offers. The Information reports that WhatsApp turned down this unusual proposal about six months ago. The takeaway from all this? If you hadn't guessed it from the astronomical figures -- 19 billion dollars, you guys -- Google and Facebook recognize the mobile instant messaging service's huge value. 450 million active users every month is none too shabby, after all.

Update: According to The Information, Google CEO Larry Page met with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last week, as a last-minute attempt to stop an impending acquisition by Facebook. Page reportedly called WhatsApp "a big threat to Facebook" and even offered to outbid the social network's $19 billion offer. Koum should feel flattered; that's some pretty heated competition.