updated 10:25 am EDT, Wed October 24, 2007
Facebook Deal Imminent
Social networking site Facebook is about to receive its first major investment within the next one to two days, according to a purported source speaking with the New York Post. The paper claims that either Google or Microsoft is prepared to make an investment "between 5 percent and 10 percent" in the startup, which has so far relied primarily on venture capital and similar funding for outside help. As Facebook is widely known to be valuing itself between $10 billion and $15 billion dollars, such an investment would be rated anywhere between $750 million and $1.5 billion.
Both companies have remained quiet on the issue in public but are reportedly more determined than usual to be the winning bidders, the Post says. While Google is said to be driving up the value to sour Microsoft on the deal, the latter is allegedly entrenching itself and would give "any valuation possible" to stop Google, the source for the story claims. The Windows developer has been fiercely competitive with Google ever since the latter bought advertising giant DoubleClick and would stand to lose hundreds of millions of ad dollars should Google win the alleged bid, as the Mountain View, California-based search firm would likely undo existing ad deals between Facebook and Microsoft in favor of its own AdSense and DoubleClick properties.
The report corroborates similar claims made by the Wall Street Journal last month, which suggested a similar battle but with a lower valuation. A separate online ad deal to boost Facebook's revenue is also expected on November 6th, the Post adds.
The deal may affect Facebook's future integration with mobile devices and software, as both Google and Microsoft have typically rolled their online services into smaller, customized programs for handhelds. The former is best known for the Google Maps and YouTube clients on the iPhone but has also contributed similar programs to LG and similar handset makers, while Microsoft frequently offers access to its web services through Windows Mobile and third-party instant messaging programs.