According to a new report from Digital Trends, software giant Google is currently negotiating a deal to acquire WhatsApp for "close to $1 billion."
The deal began "four or five weeks ago," the article reports, with sources suggesting that WhatsApp is "playing hardball" and holding out for a higher price.
Aside from some legal controversy in Canada surrounding the app's privacy methods, WhatsApp has been a tremendously popular and well regarded service. Google has approached WhatsApp before, so this deal closing soon would surprise few. The acquisition would also help solve mobile messaging for Google, which Digital Trends describes as a "huge, gaping hole in Google’s mobile strategy."
Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion last year in a similar deal. But one key difference is that WhatsApp is fully monetized. It's a paid app that regularly tops app store charts in dozens of countries, which helps drive revenue of up to $100 million annually, Digital Trends estimates.