Few seem to have noticed, but Facebook has now officially put itself in play. Peter Thiel, a Facebook investor and director, granted a detailed interview to The Deal last week in which he rejected several lowball offers that have reportedly come over the transom–$3 billion range–and essentially offered to sell the company for $7-$10 billion. The announcement would not have been any more direct if Facebook had written an open letter to Google saying: “Dear Eric: $10 billion and we’re yours.”
Yes, of course, Thiel also threw in all the required noises about how Facebook has no interest in selling, no interest in going public, etc., to make sure that when Google does walk in the door, it will be Google who grovels. He also explained why Facebook wasn’t ready to sell (not developed enough) and why those who gripe about Facebook’s low revenue are missing the point (we don’t care about revenue yet). But make no mistake: Any time a company is this specific about what it would take to get it to the table, it’s for sale. What’s more, it’s probably for sale at the low end of Thiel’s $7-$10 billion range.
As a last gesture of helpfulness, Thiel was also kind enough to tell everyone how much revenue Facebook will generate this year–$150 million (so assume at least $200 million–have to set the bar low)–of which half comes from the Microsoft deal. So, there, Google and Microsoft investment bankers, you now have everything you need.
Let’s see, at today’s Google stock price of $515, a $10 billion Facebook buy would amount to about 6% -7% dilution. A veritable tuck-in! And none of the copyright headaches that came along with the $1.7 billion YouTube acquisition. Microsoft? Why, you’ll generate $10 billion in cash in the next few months. So, step right up! Yahoo? Um, sorry, missed your chance last year when you could have had it for $2 billion. David Shabelman, The Deal. DealBook, NYT
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