Less than a week after selling off on news of a certain high-profile acquisition, Facebook (FB +4.1%) has shot above $71 for the first time. Helping its cause: Needham's Laura Martin has upped her PT to $80 from $65, while arguing the WhatsApp deal isn't as expensive as it might first seem.
Though Facebook agree to pay $45 per WhatsApp MAU, Martin thinks that figure will drop to $23/MAU within a year, given WhatsApp's growth trajectory. She also notes Facebook ($140/MAU) and Twitter ($180/MAU) have much higher per-MAU valuations (ed: unlike WhatsApp, both platforms are also monetized via ads rather than subscriptions), and that WhatsApp averages 14 sessions/user in some markets.
The gains come as Mark Zuckerberg talks shop at the Mobile World Congress. Zuck trumpets Facebook's Internet.org initiative to provide free Web access in emerging markets - Facebook is looking for 3-5 mobile carrier partners, and doesn't expect the effort to be profitable for a while - and suggests WhatsApp will be Facebook's last big acquisition for some time.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum says his company's apps will support voice calling starting in Q2. A number of rivals, including Line, KakaoTalk, and (naturally) Skype, already support voice calls.
Koum also says WhatsApp now has 465M MAUs - up from the 450M Facebook said it had last week - and 330M DAUs. His remarks follow a weekend outage that led WhatsApp's App Store download rankings to plunge (for now) in some markets, and those of rivals to surge.