M&A - Valuation
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Facebook’s string of talent acquisitions continued today with the announcement that it has purchased an Amsterdam-based software and design company called Sofa . As with most of Facebook’s past acquisitions , the social networking company is pretty open about the fact that it’s buying the company for the team, not the product — a move sometimes called an “acqhire” or a “manquisition”. In fact, Sofa says that its products are not part of the deal, and that it will be working with partners “to provide the smoothest transition and best possible future” for some of its apps. Many of these deals are framed as a way to hire top engineers, but in this case, it looks like Facebook is particularly interested in Sofa’s design skills.
Read about Facebook’s 50 billion valuation this morning? I did but had a hard time visualizing that number. That is why I decided to create a little graph visualizing that number against the market capitalization of some other internet companies.
Last week, in our weekly report on the insanely hot Facebook stock trading going on behind the scenes on SecondMarket , I wrote the following: “ Do I hear $75 billion next week? ” I was sort of kidding. But it looks like the joke is on me! Sure enough, Facebook did hit a $75 billion valuation on SecondMarket this week, a new record.
Facebook stock has reached a new high closing price on SharesPost at $34 per share, according to an email sent by the company that’s reproduced below this post. That brings the social network’s total implied valuation to a record $85 billion, assuming Facebook still has 2.5 billion shares outstanding — we haven’t seen nor heard anything to the contrary of that. This news also explains why just a couple of hours ago, rumor had it that one of the original co-founders of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin, sold about $500 million in stock . The numbers don’t pencil out, but we’ve noticed a pattern of rumors circulating right before an official announcement comes out. The previous high occurred on January 28, in which a SharesPost auction resulted in an implied valuation of $82.9 billion for Facebook. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
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How much money did Facebook fork over when it acquired Fb.com last year? A cool $8.5 million, more than 42 times the amount the company originally paid for Facebook.com. In November, it was revealed that Facebook was launching a revamped version of Messages .
Facebook added yet another small group of talented developers and product managers to its stable today with the acquisition of Beluga. With Facebook’s focus this year on bolstering its mobile platform and offering a Messages product that seamlessly ties the web and mobile together , Beluga is a nice fit with the company’s overall direction. Also, with Facebook acquiring not only the Beluga team but the startup’s technology, the acquisition resembles the way the company bought Friendfeed in 2009 and kept its service alive indefinitely. Here is a bit of context for how to think about the acquisition: Group messaging, while hyped, is actually not a cheap business to run: Compared to most of the consumer-oriented startups we usually write about, group messaging has high operational costs beyond covering headcount without the immediate cashflow. The business that is benefiting most financially from the group messaging wave right now is not Beluga or rival GroupMe.
It looks like recruiting service Pursuit has been gobbled up by Facebook, the latest in a string of acqui-hires, judging by the brief message on their homepage: “Update: we’ve found a new home at Facebook! Although we’ll be working on stuff unrelated to Pursuit, keep an eye out for great new features from us there and thanks to everyone who helped along the way.” The San Francisco based Pursuit was just three extremely over-educated guys — Louis Eisenberg, Russ Heddleston, Nicholas Letourneau — who according to their digital “Gone Fishing” sign, will be dropping Pursuit in um, pursuit of other things at Facebook. This is not surprising, as Facebook acquisitions are almost always about engineering talent versus product.