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10 companies that tried to buy Facebook

April 15, 2014 15:51 IST

10 companies that tried to buy Facebook

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Facebook has been one of the hottest start-up in the recent years. In September last year when its market cap crossed $100 billion, it entered the league of Amazon and Intel Corp.

According to a CNBC report then, the company was more valuable than Mc Donald’s, Conoco Phillips, American Express or Goldman Sachs.

Since the company started, its co-founder Mark Zukerberg has been warding off bids to acquire the company. Some of the biggest name in media and tech industry tried to buy Facebook.

According to a report in Business Insider, based on the David Kirkpatrick's book The Facebook Effect, the company has also always been very popular with the M&A suits. Here are 10 of them that tried to buy the social networking site.

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Image: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder laughs outside the Sun Valley Inn in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters
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Google

Google executives visited Facebook in its initial years to see if there was a way to work with the company or even buy it. Later, Google’s board even approved Facebook acquisition of Facebook ‘if it made sense’.

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Image: Google CEO Larry Page speaks during a press announcement.
Photographs: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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Microsoft

Microsoft was the company that officially gave Facebook its initial valuation of $15. The software giant’s chief executive Steve Ballmer was interested in the social networking site and wanted to keep Google away from the company.

Through negotiations, Microsoft acquired 1.6 per cent stake in the company for $250 million valuing it at $15 billion.

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Image: Microsoft's former CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during his keynote address at the Microsoft "Build" conference in San Francisco.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

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Yahoo!

Yahoo was interested in buying Facebook and made an offer of $1 billion in 2006. Many early investors wanted to exit their investment in the social networking company and the negotiations started.

After Yahoo reported weak earnings, it lowered the offer to $850 million, which Facebook rejected. Yahoo again tried its luck about a year later. By then, Facebook started growing rapidly and the management and investors unanimously passed the offer.

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Image: A woman jogs in front of Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
Photographs: Kimberly White/Reuters

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An unnamed financier

When the social networking site went live in 2004, a financier based in New York offered Zuckerberg $10 million. The co-founder, then 20, never took the offer seriously.

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Image: The sun sets on the entrance sign at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Photographs: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

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Friendster

The social gaming site Friendster, based in Kuala Lumpur, had bid for Facebook in the early years while the social networking website was still run from the college dorm. But things didn’t work out between the companies.

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Image: Screenshot of Friendster's homepage.


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Viacom

Viacom wanted to buy the social network as they found out that MTV viewers were spending a lot of time on Facebook. After pursuing the start-up for a while Viacom offered $1.5 billion.

The deal was almost about to happen when Facebook demanded higher upfront cash. Viacom had offered $800 million upfront and the rest via payout later.

Viacom management decided against the buyout as Facebook had little revenues then.

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Image: Sumner M. Redstone, Viacom's Executive Chairman of the Board and Founder.
Photographs: Fatih Saribas/Reuters
Tags: Viacom , MTV

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MySpace

When Facebook team met with the co-founder of MySpace Chris DeWolfe, they asked him he would be interested in buying Facebook fro $75 million. At that time MySpace was much bigger than the Facebook. DeWolfe declined.

A year later they again met and Zuckerberg again asked DeWolfe if he would be interested in the company for $750 million, MySpace co-founder again said no.

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Image: Co-founder of MySpace Chris DeWolfe poses for a portrait at the Film Lounge Media Center during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Photographs: Getty Images

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NewsCorp

NewCorp, which owned MySpace, negotiated with Facebook for a possible buyout in 2006 but the deal didn’t go through.

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Image: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, arrives with his wife Wendi Deng at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

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AOL

In 20006, then AOL CEO Jonathan Miller was interested in buying Facebook. But the parent company’s (Time Warner) CEO Jeff Bewkes shot down the idea.

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Image: Former head of America Online (AOL) Jonathan Miller.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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NBC

Even the media company had expressed interest to acquire Facebook in 2005. But the details of the meeting are unknown.


Image: Pedestrians walk past the entrance to the NBC studios, outside Rockefeller Center.
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Tags: NBC

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