Facebook will pay $1 billion in cash and stock for photo-sharing applicationInstagram, making its largest-ever acquisition in the months before a mega-IPO.
The deal is expected to close later this quarter. The popular Instagram application, which allows users to add filters and effects to pictures taken on their smartphones, has gained about 30 million users since it first launched in January 2011.
The acquisition comes as a surprise as the world’s largest social network nears an initial public offering. Facebook will acquire Instagram’s entire team as part of the deal.
“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”