E alla fine Microsoft entrò nel capitale di Facebook con 240 milioni di dollari ed una valutazione complessiva attorno ai 15 miliardi di dollari. Tanto? Tantissimo, ma i cronisti dimenticano sempre di sottolineare che la valutazione di 15 miliardi è puramente teorica e che Microsoft ha sborsato per il momento “solamente” 240 milioni di dollari assicurandosi l’1,6% di Facebook, un accordo d’esclusiva per la pubblicità e probabilmente una bella clausola di gradimento per sbarrare l’entrata a Google, Yahoo! e Murdoch. Tutto sommato è un obolo piuttosto contenuto per Microsoft (meno della metà di quanto ha versato alla commissione europea per l’abuso di posizione dominante) che le fa mettere gli occhi su un’interessane proprietà. La proporizione con cui si arriva a 15 miliardi (240:1,6%=x:100%) è un esercizio puramente teorico che non credo troverà mai riscontro pratico in un acquirente pronto a mettere sul piatto 15 miliardi per una roba che sarà anche in forte crescita, ma fattura a malapena 200 milioni di dollari.
Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive, believes that the craze for individual social networks such as Facebook risks being exposed as a “fad”…
“I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet theres a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people,” Mr Ballmer told Times Online yesterday…
[Ballmer] added that there was little in the way of technology to justify the lofted valuation attached to a site expected to achieve revenues of only $150 million this year.
“There cant be any more deep technology in Facebook than what dozens of people could write in a couple of years. Thats for sure,” he said.
Microsoft takes $240m stake in Facebook
By Chris Nuttall and Richard Waters in San Francisco
Published: October 24 2007 21:53 | Last updated: October 24 2007 23:26
Microsoft on Wednesday took a $240m stake in Facebook, the online social network, a move that puts a value on the site, which has yet to make a profit, of $15bn.
The software group has also beaten Google to striking a key advertising deal.
Microsoft said it would take a $240m equity stake in Facebooks next round of financing and the companies would expand their existing advertising partnership.
The cash payment equates to a 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook, which is currently growing faster than the top social networking site MySpace, owned by News Corp.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebooks founder, has remained doggedly independent in spite of a string of suitors and reports in recent months that Microsoft might favour a full acquisition of the company.
The deal instead seals Microsofts exclusive relationship with Facebook to serve ads on its website and beats out competitors, including Google.
We were very fortunate that a lot of folks were interested in partnering around advertising, Owen Van Natta, chief revenue officer at Facebook, told a media conference call.
But he said that Facebook had been working successfully with Microsoft for a year now and had decided to expand its partnership to a global relationship.
Microsoft has been the exclusive provider of banner advertising in the US on Facebook in a deal that extends to 2011. It will now be the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook and will begin to sell advertising for Facebook internationally, in addition to the United States, the companies said.
They would not reveal if this included search advertising as well as display advertising. Google and others could seek a separate deal to sell search advertising if this was not included.
Facebook has nearly 50m users and its membership grew more than 6 per cent in September, compared to MySpace growth of 1 per cent to 107m users, according to the comScore research firm.
Kevin Johnson, president of Microsofts Platform and Services division, said its investment in Facebook was justified by the services growth opportunities.
They have the opportunity to get to 200m-300m users, we think thats in the realms of possibility. If you combine that with monetisation and modest average revenues per user, then you can get very quickly to these valuations.