The social-networking giant Facebook announced that will acquire virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR for $2 billion. The deal includes $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, as well as an additional $300 million if Oculus VR meets certain performance targets. Oculus VR will continue to operate independently at its headquarters in Irvine.The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Though the Rift has been pitched as a video-gaming device, Facebook plans to use its technology for communications, media and other forms of entertainment. In a conference call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said “Oculus VR has the potential to be the most social platform ever, Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.” In a post on his Facebook profile page, Zuckerberg presented such scenarios as sitting courtside at a sports event, studying with a group of students or consulting face-to-face with a doctor as potential uses for virtual reality.
The acquisition comes just weeks after Facebook announced it would purchase the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. Zuckerberg noted that he didn’t expect Facebook’s buying spree to continue, but that the company would open its wallet for companies that it thinks offer a unique value opportunity.