To my knowledge there is no "Facebook Day" but that seems like a fitting label for today. Until the company eventually goes public, today is probably the most important day in Facebook’s (incredibly short) history. Today Microsoft announced that it would pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook, which means:
The investment values the three-year-old Facebook, which will bring in about $150 million in revenue this year, at $15 billion.
“We are now stepping outside what is typically a business decision,” said Rob Enderle, the founder of the strategy concern Enderle Group. “This was almost personal. I wouldn’t want to be the executive that’s on the losing side at either firm.”
Yes, Facebook is officially worth $15 billion. I wrote in February that Facebook missed the boat by not selling to Yahoo, but also pointed out they’d get another shot. Turns out I was wrong on the first part, and right on the second. All of a sudden Mark Zuckerberg looks like a genius for saying "no thanks" to Yahoo’s paltry offer of $1 billion.
Microsoft and Google were said to be fighting over the deal to the very end, with Microsoft having the slight advantage thanks to a previous ad deal with Facebook. This deal is all about positioning – Microsoft couldn’t afford to let Google cozy up to Facebook’s growing network of eyeballs.
There’s a ton of commentary on this story in the blogosphere, so I won’t rehash that here, but there is one thing that seems odd to me: the amount. No doubt $240 million is a lot of money, but I was expecting an announcement in the billions today. Something more in line with Google’s purchase of YouTube or Microsoft’s purchase of aQuantive.
On the other hand, a smaller piece of a big pie is better than no pie at all.