Facebook is not waiting for its initial public offering to make its first big purchase.
In its largest acquisition to date, the social network has purchased Instagram, the popular photo-sharing application, for about $1 billion in cash and stock, the company said Monday.
It’s a notable move for Facebook, which has exclusively focused on bite-size acquisitions, worth less than $100 million.
With Instagram, Facebook will get a formidable mobile player – an area that is seen as a weakness for the sprawling social network. Founded two years ago, the service — which lets users share photos and apply stylized filters – has become one of the most downloaded applications on the iPhone, with some 30 million users. Instagram released a version of its application for Google’s Android operating system last week.
On Monday, both companies expressed their commitment to run Instagram as an independent service.