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Investor Beat -- February 20, 2014

By Chris Hill – Feb 20, 2014 at 6:03PM

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The top business stories from Thursday's market, for today's Foolish investor.

The social network Facebook has announced that it's buying the popular and rapidly growing smartphone messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion. The service allows users to send text messages for free as data, circumventing SMS costs imposed by wireless carriers. Adoption of the app is growing at a torrid pace, with the number of users having reached 450 million in the five years since WhatsApp was founded. But will it prove to be worth the amount Facebook paid for it? In the lead story on Thursday's Investor Beat, host Chris Hill and Motley Fool analyst Matt Koppenheffer discuss the acquisition, and its possible benefits for Facebook.

Then, Matt and Chris look at two major movers on the market today. Shares of PepsiCo were up today, after activist investor Nelson Peltz sent a letter to the board of directors urging the company to spin off its snack division as a separate company. The idea is one that has been bandied about before, and the guys discuss whether now is finally the time for this split to happen.

Meanwhile, Bank of America was the No. 1 traded stock on the NYSE today, as CEO Brian Moynihan was given a $14 million raise in salary and bonus for his performance in 2013. Matt acknowledges the sticker shock here, but takes investors through several of Moynihan's achievements during the past year that have led to the raise being warranted.

And finally, Matt takes a look back at Facebook after the acquisition announcement, and discusses why he doesn't think we've heard all the details involved here just yet. He references a potential bidding war over WhatsApp that may have occurred leading up to the acquisition between Facebook and Google, noting that Google recently offered to buy the service for $10 billion, an offer that was turned down. Matt will be keeping a close eye on future emerging details, to see what Facebook ultimately plans to do with the messaging service.

Chris Hill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Apple and Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Bank of America, Facebook, Google, and PepsiCo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, Facebook, Google, and PepsiCo. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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