Google denies trying to buy WhatsApp

"We never made an offer to acquire them," says Google SVP.

Google has denied tabling a bid for popular smartphone messaging service WhatsApp, which was eventually acquired by Facebook for $19bn earlier this month.

Speaking during a panel event at Mobile World Congress, Google SVP Sundar Pichai shot down reports the web giant had made an offer.

"Whatsapp was definitely an exciting product," he told attendees.

"We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue."

Rumours started circulating in April 2013 that Google wanted to buy WhatsApp for $1bn. The messaging service moved quickly to claim this report was "not factually accurate".

Fortune has since reported that Google tried to buy WhatsApp for $10bn - quoting two sources. And it was claimed that Google CEO Larry Page tried to hold last-minute talks with WhatsApp to try and derail the Facebook takeover.

During his keynote speech at MWC earlier in the week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed WhatsApp was worth "more than $19bn". Acquisition statistics based on the cost per user appear to suggest Facebook picked up a bargain. It cost Facebook $35.56 per WhatsApp user, wheres companies such as MySpace cost $36.25 per user and Geocities, which has since been closed, was priced at $830 per user.

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