updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue April 6, 2010
Foursquare investigting buyout options
Location check-in game Foursquare is shopping itself to some of the top tech companies in the US, a rumor today insists. Company co-founder Dennis Crowley's trip last week purportedly involved discussions of buyouts from Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. Yahoo is said by SAI to be at least somewhat interested and has its merger team considering a possible $100 million deal.
A source believed close to Yahoo has taken care to put the talks in context and said that the search firm talks to "everybody" about possible deals. Foursquare itself also isn't believed to need funding given the popularity and likely valuation of the company, which could start at $80 million. Neither Foursquare nor any of the named companies have agreed to comment so far.
An acquisition would have different significances depending on the buyer. Yahoo may consider it the most important as it would draw attention to the company's somewhat struggling web services. Outside of Flickr, third-party services like Del.ici.ous have been relatively underperforming since they have been acquired. Facebook and Twitter would make more obvious candidates as they both already depend on status updates, and Twitter recently added geolocation of its own.
Apple acquiring Foursquare would be unusual and would most likely help refine geolocation services on the Mac and handhelds at the expense of the core check-in service. It's less likely that Apple would continue to support Foursquare on non-iPhone platforms, which includes Android, BlackBerry and webOS with Windows Phone 7 to come. The move could paradoxically aid Foursquare's chief competitor Gowalla.