The Facebook acquisition rumors are flying again, including the Microsoft $6 billion one. But there’s also a rumor about Google and Facebook being in talks. I think that the Yahoo! discussions are done. TimeWarner/AOL and IAC probably don’t have the stomach to pay the $2 to $4 billion that it will likely take now.
Murdoch probably won’t bid because it would seem redundant and be an admission of the potential vulnerability of MySpace. Besides, he’s about to spend $5 billion on the WSJ (unfortunately).
Facebook is surging and LinkedIn and MySpace are feeling pressure. Zuckerberg et al say they want to go it alone, but this was also Chad Hurley’s line (“we want to build a sustainable business”) prior to the Google acquisition of YouTube. Indeed, it would be very hard to pass up a multi-billion dollar payday.
Neither Google nor Microsoft have bona fide social networks. Both companies will make contrary statements in public but Spaces and Orkut don’t count. While Google has YouTube, it doesn’t offer the same social media opportunity that Facebook does.
When I was at the Facebook Platform announcement/event my intuitive flash was that Microsoft would buy the site. I still think that’s the most likely outcome but a bidding war could ensue between Microsoft and Google. Zuckerberg & Co. might also be more inclined to become a part of Google than Microsoft and that might tip the scales, all other things being relatively equal.
We’ll see but I’m going to bet (based on no inside information) that come Xmas or very soon thereafter either Google or Microsoft will be making an announcement about acquiring the company and I’m going to guess the price will be in the range above and probably at the higher end of the range. Although Facebook is a probably ultimately a more valuable property than aQuantive for which Microsoft paid $6 billion.
So who knows . . .
Related: Here’s MediaPost’s recent article about Facebook’s growth and estimated revenues.