WhatsApp move is latest tech deal

The blockbuster takeover of WhatsApp by Facebook is the latest move by a technology giant to snap up a rival in the social media sphere.

The 16 billion US dollar (£9.58 billion) deal greatly supersedes Yahoo's acquisition of blogging site Tumblr last year for 1.1 billion US dollars (£720 million).

At the time it was the largest takeover of a social networking company in years, giving Yahoo! its own social media platform in a bid to attract younger and trendier internet users to match rivals Google and Facebook.

It followed Facebook's one billion dollar (£659 million) purchase of popular photo-sharing smartphone app Instagram in 2012.

But over the years there has been varying degrees of success of "dot com" acquisitions.

In 2008 internet company AOL bought social networking site Bebo in a deal worth 850 million dollars (then £417 million).

Just two years later, after struggling to compete with its rivals, the business was sold to private equity group Criterion Capital Partners in a deal believed to be worth just a fraction of the price paid by AOL.

Early social networking pioneer Friends Reunited was also involved in a huge takeover deal which turned sour.

The UK-based company was acquired by ITV for £175 million in 2005, only to be sold for £25.6 million four years later to online publishing group Brightsolid.

Even media mogul Rupert Murdoch struggled when he attempted to tap into the social media market.

His company, News Corporation, bought MySpace in 2005, paying 580 million dollars (£361 million) at a time when it had hundreds of millions of users.

But Mr Murdoch was forced to offload the social networking site to Specific Media last year for just 35 million dollars (£22 million) after it was eclipsed by its rivals.

Registered MySpace user numbers were reported to have dwindled to around 25 million last year.

However Google turned heads in 2006 by making YouTube its largest acquisition to-date.

Detractors questioned whether the user-generated video hosting site, already facing legal battles from both movie and music studios, was worth the 1.65 billion dollars.

It is now the third most popular site on the internet after Facebook and Google itself, according to web information company Alexa.

Auction site eBay was hailed as being ahead of the game when it acquired video calling service Skype in 2005 for a surprising 2.6 billion dollars.

In 2009 eBay sold a majority stake in the company to an investment consortium at a profit. In 2011, Skype was sold again to Microsoft for a massive 8.5 billion dollars.

Flickr is another takeover success story - the image and video hosting site was bought for a reported 35 million dollars in 2005 and now has more than 51 million registered members and 80 million unique visitors.