The news and the number both came as shockers.
Today, after market close, Facebook said it would pay $19-billion for messaging company WhatsApp.
The deal will, without doubt, bring increased attention upon the increasingly crowded social messaging space. Indeed the reaction was almost instant. Shares of BlackBerry have risen nearly 8% in the after market.
Investors are betting that the WhatsApp news means BBM is worth more today, not less. The Facebook deal is worth more than triple BlackBerry’s current market cap of just over $4.7-billion.
The recently cross-platformed BlackBerry app has had some success, including ten million downloads on the first day of its iOS and Android release. In the first two months it was available, more than 40-million Android and iOS users registered BBM accounts, almost doubling its user base, instantly. BBM recently passed 100-million users.
WhatsApp, meanwhile, has more than 400-million monthly users.
But BBM has also been in the news for less desirable reasons; BlackBerry Executive Vice President Andrew Bocking, the man in charge of BBM recently resigned, a move that at least one critic said was a “death knell” for the beleaguered Canadian company.
A recent survey, however, shows that BBM is at least in the social messaging conversation.
OnDevice asked smartphone users which social messaging app they use at least once a week. BBM came fifth, behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Twitter.
So what is BlackBerry Messenger worth? In September, ScotiaBank analyst Gus Papageorgiou said the service could be worth $5 a share, based on the idea that it could contribute $300 million per year in advertising revenue. It’s likely we will see estimates higher than this in the days to come, as both Wall Street and Bay Street absorb the WhatsApp news.