Skip to content

Billion-dollar apps – the most expensive app acquisitions

Elon Musk’s proposed purchase of Twitter has sent the internet into meltdown, but it’s not the first time a service like that has been swiped for a huge payout. In fact, some of the most popular apps of today were bought up by various business giants after their initial rise to popularity.

We spoke to the financial experts at Merchant Cash Advance about some of the most expensive apps ever sold. Here’s their take on five of the most notable sales…


Over recent weeks, the internet has blown up following the news of Elon Musk buying Twitter for $44 billion. The unexpected bid was made by the entrepreneur who is known for his large scale business ventures and connections to Tesla. Since making the purchase, Elon has discussed potential changes to the platform that include adding an ‘edit’ tweet feature and cracking down on fake accounts.


Back in 2016, Microsoft made the decision to purchase LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion. The deal saw LinkedIn’s shares soar and the social media network has since become a much more advanced business platform. Initially, Microsoft aimed to grow the networking site by integrating it with Microsoft’s own softwares and the decision paid off, leading to a significant user base growth over the years.


Being one of the most well-known app purchases, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion back in 2014. At the time, the app did not make much money and the price tag was seen as very extreme but can be put down to Mark Zuckerberg doing what he needed to do to iron out a rising competitor before it had the chance to overtake the success of Facebook.


Dating back to 2006 when Google famously bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, the video site had only been around for a couple of years but had begun growing at a huge rate. Nowadays, there are tens of billions of videos on the platform and is now expected to be worth around $20 billion as it continues to thrive and their music subscription service has exceeded 50 million members.


Over recent months, the simple yet addictive online game has boomed and sees millions of people check in daily to guess the five-letter word. In January, The New York Times purchased Wordle for $1 million and kept the same no-frills design with no changes to the gameplay. The acquisition is thought to contribute to their aim of reaching 10 million digital subscribers by 2025, getting their name out there for everyone to see.

Any more?

Those five are arguably the most interesting sales, but a few other big names have been sold for billion-dollar sums that we’d be remiss to leave out: Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5bn in 2011, Yahoo! bought Tumblr for $1.1bn in 2013, and Facebook bought Instagram for $1bn in 2012. Ten years on, and it’s clear that Instagram had the most staying power of those three.