Goldman Stake Values Facebook At $50 Billion
Lore has it that while Mark Zuckerberg was able to turn down Yahoo's $1 billion offer to buy Facebook in 2006, his board and investors would have forced him to sell if Yahoo CEO Terry Semel had come back with a $1.1 billion offer.
Now Facebook Is Selling Just 4% Of The Company For 2X As Much As Yahoo Could Have Paid To Buy The Whole Thing.
Who else tried?
1. In June 2004, an unnamed financier offered $10 million
Facebook, then TheFacebook.com, went live in February 2004. Just four months later and prior to any outside investment, a 20-year-old Mark Zuckerberg fielded a $10 million offer from an unnamed New York financier.
2.Mark and his Harvard dorm-mates rented a house in leafy Palo Alto during the summer of 2004.
It wasn't long before "a couple of Google executives came over to see if there might be a way to work with or even buy TheFacebook," Kirkpatrick reports in The Facebook Effect.
3. During Spring 2005, Facebook (still TheFacebook) was talking to The Washington Post Company about an investment.
Out of nowhere, Viacom offered $75 million to buy the company.
Mark would have earned $35 million on the spot, reports Kirkpatrick.
4. In the spring of 2005, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe visited Mark and his team to "put out feelers about possibly buying TheFacebook," Kirkpatrick reports.
Mark, his president Sean Parker, and adviser Matt Cohler met with Chris, "but only because they thought he was an interesting guy and they were curious about MySpace."
5. In January 2006, then News Corp digital boss Ross Levinsohn flew Mark Zuckerberg and one of his top advisors, Matt Cohler, to Los Angeles.
Ross wanted to buy TheFacebook, but he worried it might not keep up its growth.
"That's the difference between a Los Angeles company and a Silicon Valley company,"
6. In early 2006, MTV boss Michael Wolf stopped by Facebook one last time. Zuckerberg told him he thought the company was worth $2 billion.
A couple weeks later, Viacom sent Facebook a $1.5 billion offer – $800 million in cash up front, the rest a payout later.
Facebook almost sold, according to The Facebook Effect, but it wanted a bigger upfront payment. Viacom's CFO was nervous about paying so much for a company with such small revenues. The deal fell apart. Viacom never came back.
7. In the summer of 2006, Yahoo decided to offer Facebook $1 billion.
Facebook's investors and many of its executives wanted to sell.
But Facebook was about to launch the News Feed, and if it went well, Mark Zuckerberg figured the company would be worth way more than a $1 billion.
8. AOL CEO Jonathan Miller decided he wanted to buy Facebook in the middle of 2006.
He even convinced Time Inc. CEO Anne Moore to come in on the deal before he took it to AOL's parent company, Time Warner. His plan: AOL would sell MapQuest and Tegic. Time Inc would sell IPC. Together they'd offer $1 billion plus.
9. In the fall of 2006, Yahoo came back to Facebook and suggested it would pay $1 billion or more.
But by then, Facebook had opened the site to people beyond college and high school students.
Registrations were up from 20,000 a day to 50,000 a day, Kirkpatrick reports. Even eager-for-an-exit VC and Facebook investor Jim Breyer was OK with passing on the deal.
10. Determined to keep Facebook away from Google, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered to buy the company in 2007. Steve knew Mark would never relinquish control over Facebook, so he came up with a deal based on Hoffman-LaRoche's acquisition of Genentech.