25 Mar 2014

Facebook to Buy Virtual Reality Firm Oculus for $2bn





By Reed Albergotti and Ian Sherr at WSJ

Facebook Inc. made its second blockbuster acquisition of the year, agreeing Tuesday to acquire Oculus VR Inc., an 20-month-old maker of virtual-reality goggles, for $2 billion in cash and stock.

Like Facebook's $19 billion purchase last month of text-messaging service WhatsApp, the deal is part of the social-networking company's vast ambition to connect people across all kinds of devices and modes of communication.

The goggle deal also highlights the intense competition among big technology companies for promising startups, even when those startups, like Oculus and WhatsApp, have little revenue.

Oculus's headset, called Rift, today is a visual device for playing videogames. But Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that the social network has bigger plans for it.

"We're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," Mr. Zuckerberg said in a statement.

"Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home," he said.



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