Facebook‘s $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition in 2014 might not have happened if it wasn’t for CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Hungarian sheepdog, Beast.
Talking with CNN’s Laurie Segall in an interview aired on Sunday, Zuckerberg described the multi-billion dollar negotiations with WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum and how his dog helped make the deal happen.
“My dog Beast, I think, is actually the secret weapon here,” he said. “It was a tense moment and Jan was like, ‘All right I need to think about this.'”
Zuckerberg said the room was silent for a few minutes before Beast walked in, “kinda confused.”
“He’s like, ‘What’s going on? These two guys are just sitting here silent,” the billionaire recounted.
“[Beast] then walks up to Jan and jumps in his lap,” Zuckerberg said. “And then Jan starts petting him and a second later he’s like, ‘Okay, I think we’re good.'”
The two struck a deal, and Facebook purchased the messaging app for a whopping $19 billion.
Beast continues to be a beloved member of the Zuckerberg household, with his own dedicated Facebook page and a penchant for getting dressed up for big events like Halloween.
In October 2016, Zuckerberg posted a picture of his daughter Max with the woolly pup and announced that her first spoken word was “dog.”
Things with the WhatsApp co-founders, however, didn’t end up so swimmingly.
One of the private messaging app’s co-founders Brian Acton left Facebook in September 2017 after clashing with Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg over discussions of monetizing the service. Acton told Forbes in a subsequent interview that the two Facebook execs “represent a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with.”
Amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Acton shocked many by joining in on the #DeleteFacebook movement, tweeting: “It’s time. #DeleteFacebook.”
WhatsApp’s second co-founder Jan Koum — whom Beast hopped onto during negotiations — left Facebook in August 2018, also over pressures to monetize the app and frustrations with “big company” culture, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
By leaving Facebook before their stock options fully vested, it was estimated that Acton and Koums would forego a combined $1.3 billion.
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