Facebook is purchasing Instagram, the very popular photo sharing company, for $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock, the social networking giant's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday.
"For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. "Now, we'll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests."
While Facebook is expected to integrate Instagram more closely with its web and app offerings, Zuckerberg also said that it will build and grow the Instagram app independently.
"Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people," he said.
Founded in 2010 by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Instagram lets users add distinctive filters and visual flair to photos they've snapped on their smartphones.
The long-awaited Android version, released last week, racked up more than 1 million downloads in just 12 hours.
The launch also met a backlash from iPhone users, who enjoyed having an exclusive hold on the stylish service.
It is Facebook's biggest acquisition ever, in both price and reach. With around 30 million active users, Instagram has the largest audience of any start-up Facebook has purchased, but Zuckerberg said these types of deals won't be frequent.
"We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all," Zuckerberg wrote. "But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together."