Facebook Inc (FB) Makes WhatsApp Service Free – No More Subscription Fees

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I personally have a lot of friends who live all over the globe. Whether it be Brazil, Paris, Australia or Israel, I have always had a difficult time communicating with them on a real-time basis because of the ridiculous prices that cell phone carriers charge for international text messages and phone calls. That is until WhatsApp burst onto the scenes. Now, after Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has acquired the makers of the app, the company has just made the service free of subscription fees.

Everyday-non-commercial users will now be able to use the app free of charge beyond the original first year of service. Previously the app charged an annual subscription fee to those who wished to continue using it after the first year. Even though this fee was relatively cheap, it still deterred many users due to the fact that some people don’t keep a credit card on file with iOS or Google Play. Now, thanks to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) these fees will be waived. However, this doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t be able to reap profits from the app, as they will continue to charge businesses that wish to communicate with their customers.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) hopes this move will increase the WhatsApp subscriber base which already has over 900 million users. The stock decreased 3.46% or $3.4 on January 15, hitting $94.97. About 46.13 million shares traded hands or 85.34% up from the average. FB has risen 16.48% since June 12, 2015 and is uptrending. It has outperformed the S&P500 by 25.35%.

From a total of 33 analysts covering Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock, 32 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 0 a “Hold”. This means that 97% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $155.0 while the lowest target price is $88. The mean of all analyst targets is $122.77 which is 29.27% above today’s ($94.97) stock price. Facebook was the topic of 59 analyst reports since July 21, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Argus Research maintained shares on November 6 with a “Buy” rating. Morgan Stanley maintained shares with a”Overweight” rating and a $120 target share price in their report from a November 5. Canaccord Genuity maintained FB stock in a recent report from November 5 with a “Buy” rating. Credit Suisse maintained the rating on November 5. Credit Suisse has a “Outperform” rating and a $135 price target on shares. Finally, Jefferies maintained the stock with a “Buy” rating in a report they issued on a November 5.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.73 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.01, from 1.72 in 2015Q2. The ratio improved, as 69 funds sold all their Facebook Inc shares they owned while 375 reduced their positions. 126 funds bought stakes while 643 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 1.55 billion shares which is 2.48% more than the previous share count of 1.51 billion in 2015Q2.

Millennium Tvp Management Co. Llc holds 52.76% of its total portfolio in Facebook Inc, equating to 639,552 shares. Parametric Risk Advisors Llc owns 7.97 million shares representing 46.51% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Sc Us (Ttgp) Ltd. has 41.15% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 1.04 million shares. The California-based Meritech Capital Associates Iii L.L.C. has a total of 37.81% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Duquesne Family Office Llc, a New York-based fund reported 4.09 million shares owned.

Since February 25, 2015, the stock had 0 insider buys, and 37 insider sales for a total of $168.57 million in net activity. Athwal Jas sold 30,000 shares worth $3.06 million. Stretch Colin sold 1,000 shares worth $98,710. Cox Christopher K sold 5,778 shares worth $561,622. Schroepfer Michael Todd sold 31,283 shares worth $3.00M. The insider Fischer David B. sold 15,000 shares worth $1.43M.

Facebook, Inc. is a social networking company. The company has a market cap of $268.57 billion. The Firm is engaged in developing products that enables users to connect and share through mobile devices and personal computers. It has 95.41 P/E ratio. It offers various services focused on people, marketers and developers.

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