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The $16 Billion WhatsApp Sale Was Planned Around a Reward Miles Flight

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You'd think that a $16 billion business deal would be a good reason to change your travel plans—after all, what's it to a billionaire? But according to WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, finalizing the Facebook sale was organized around a plane ticket he couldn't change because it was booked with rewards points.


In an amazing little anecdote on the popular travel forum Flyertalk—uncovered today by Beacon Reader—Koum explains that he had booked his ticket to Mobile Congress Week in Barcelona far in advance using miles. "I prefer to fly using miles when I can to save company money," he reasons.

But when the deal between WhatsApp and Facebook was announced last week, he realized there was a chance he wouldn't be able to sign the contract before his flight to Spain departed:

When the risk of the delay became real, I said: "if we don't get it done on wednesday, it probably wont get done. I have tickets on thursday to fly out to Barcelona which I bought with miles and they are not easily refundable or even possible to change. this has to be done by wednesday or else!!!"

... And so one of the biggest deals in tech history had to be scheduled around my M&M award ticket :)


So while we might have imagined Koum celebrating the deal by driving into a pool of golden coins or swimming around in a vat of Moet, he was actually just trying to avoid getting needled with a Lufthansa change fee. [Beacon]

Lead image: Yu Lan.