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Yahoo Tries to Woo Facebook With $900 Million 108

Krishna Dagli writes writes to mention a New York Times article on Yahoo!'s attempt to buy Facebook. Their current standing offer is $900 Million, with the deal including a degree of autonomy for the site and founder Mark Zuckerberg still in charge. From the article: "When Viacom offered $750 million for Facebook in January, he asked for $2 billion and was rebuffed, according to a person involved in the negotiations. Now, he remains undecided about the latest offer, made in the last few weeks by Yahoo. That offer, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed yesterday by two industry executives, one briefed on the deal by Facebook and the other by Yahoo. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations are continuing."
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Yahoo Tries to Woo Facebook With $900 Million

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  • my advice . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recordMyRides ( 995726 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:35PM (#16163276) Homepage
    Take it you fool!
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:37PM (#16163296) Journal
    I dunno ... $900 million from Yahoo is enough to buy a basketball team, pay exorbitant fines to the NBA and periodically hold forth on business as though you're Henry Ford, not some clown who unloaded his dot-bomb on some suckers just before it imploded.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by megaditto ( 982598 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:55PM (#16163403)
      It sure sounds like much, but it isn't. Some of it will be in Yahoo stock (PITA to unload), and nearly half of it will be taken away in taxes!

      Instead, the owner currently has $50m/year tax-free (since he re-invests ALL of it into the company). This is projected to double next year.

      Also, considering his aspirations of becoming the next Jobs or Brin, perhaps selling off is not the best idea?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
        The chances of being the "next" Jobs, etc. is very, very low, though if you are right, the owner of Facebook has a better shot than most people, a better shot than any Slashdot reader of course. Even for him, it is still very low. I can't even imagine that a Mark-note about where Facebook is headed would interest very many people, not nearly as many as a Steve-note.

        It also really depends on whether the site can be constantly re-invented to keep up with what keeps its users interested. If they miss a tren
        • The chances of being the "next" Jobs, etc. is very, very low

          True enough, but building a webite that makes $50 Million a year or sells for $900 Million is very, very, very low as well. Someone is goning to be the next Jobs, Gates, Brin, whatever. This guy's odds probably increased significantly since he already has a wildly successful dot com.
    • When someone offers you $750 Million and you respond with "Two Billion",
      it's a subtle way of saying "F*ck you"

      When someone offers you $900 Million and you seriously consider it...
      1. You don't think your property is now worth $2 Billion
      2. You like the company offering to buy
      3. He needs the money?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 )
        Alternatively, the value that he got for $750 mil might not have offered him the amount of autonomy he wanted; if, for example, they wanted to buy him out and shut him out of the loop, he might have wanted 2000 mil for that. Now, if yahoo is going to buy him but still allow him to do his own thing, he might consider a lot less - in this case, 900 mil.
        • if, for example, they wanted to buy him out and shut him out of the loop, he might have wanted 2000 mil for that

          Dude, it's fucking facebook. You think anyone aside from dim investors actually cares about being in that loop?

          Sell the stock and get out of the dotcom biz. The only thing more depressing than being known as 'the dumbass who could have had $750 mil but held out for more' is being known as 'the next Marc Andreessen.'
    • by LilGuy ( 150110 )
      What is this NBA you speak of? Sports discussions have no place on slashdot thank you. :P Seriously though, I'm not following your comment very well...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:39PM (#16163302)
    Congrats! You won the lotto. Twice. You can always quit and go do something fun with your 900 million dollars, but only if you have that money. Don't worry about us, we can make another site with the same functionality. We are the world, we'll be ok. Now go cash in!
  • Jackpot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnotherAnonymousUser ( 972204 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:40PM (#16163308)
    Chances like this are one in a million. You had a great idea and millions have enjoyed it. Take the money with some terms of autonomy and keep giving people the service they've come to expect. Worst case, just use even a fraction of the money to create a Facebook clone and have all of your users migrate.
    • Re:Jackpot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:26PM (#16163545)
      Well...first of all, he's not going to get the whole 900 megabucks. He doesn't own the entire company, only a majority of its stock. The deal may not be strictly cash, too -- it may well involve quantities of Yahoo stock valued at their trading price on the day of the acquisition.

      Secondly, the guy is already fairly rich. Going from being a millionaire to a half-billionaire (say) is nice in many ways, but it's going from riches to more riches, not rags to riches.

      Third, one suspects he actually gets more out of the power and glory of running a successful company. It doesn't sound like his Main Goal is to have lots of money. It sounds like he enjoys more the constructive pleasures of building a massively successful venture. Who wouldn't? I mean, unless you're a total slacker, then being successful, admired, influential and seeing your ideas come to fruition exactly as you'd want them to is much more rewarding than the next million (once you already have a few million in the bank already).

      What happens if he sells the company? Sure, he's got a lot of dough, but he's no longer in sole control of the company. He's working for Yahoo. He's got a boss. Not likely he's going to enjoy that very much.

      He could take his big chunk o' change and his fame and go start another copmany. But no doubt the deal would include a non-compete clause, so it can't be the same type of company. Got to be a totally new venture. What are the odds lightning will strike twice? That the next "brilliant" idea he has about a company is going to work out as well? He's going to be worrying about that.

      If he had run the company for 10 years already and had had all the fun there was to have in it, I think he'd sell. But he's only run it for a very short time. On the other hand, he also knows what the commenters here are saying, which is that this is probably his best golden opportunity. I'd say the guy's in a bit of a bind.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by inKubus ( 199753 )
        There's no bind. You take the 900M in stock or whatever, you sell it, you pay your taxes on the full amount, and you stick it in a 5% savings account and go buy an island somewhere. WhyTF would you not take $900M?! Power? Money IS power. How many users does he have now? 9 Million. He could start an ad campaign with a different, easy to make product (say a video on demand service), take 300million and basically pay 1 million college students $300 a piece to use the service, provided they bring in at le
        • WhyTF would you not take $900M?! Power? Money IS power.

          Alas, no. It's certainly the next best thing, and can often be turned into power with judicious and wise use, but money is not synonymous with power. Just ask, oh, say Martha Stewart or Ken Lay.

          He could....[insert random business plan here]...

          No doubt. But what makes you think your plan would work? For every 100,000 "brilliant" ideas to make a bazillion dollars that one can think up, you'd be unbelievably lucky to find even one that actually works o
      • by ronark ( 803478 )
        Dude, I totally agree with everything you just said, but I'd still take the money. College loans are stacking up, car insurance blows in New Jersey, gas prices are still tough, food costs money, etc. For me, I'd sell at $1 million simply to get out of the debt I have. I definitely agree that money is not everything, but life is very hard without it.
        • Well...fair enough, but I'd probably trade places with you in a New York minute. Not worry about whether I've given the daughter the right kind of guidance as she begins high school. Be able to re-make the decision of who to marry and get it right this time. Be able to move anywhere I like, take any job I want, change the career in any direction I please, because it's just me (and maybe a young partner) and we could work 80-hour weeks and eat out of cans while I came up to speed. Not to mention be (I a
      • It sounds like he enjoys more the constructive pleasures of building a massively successful venture. Who wouldn't? I mean, unless you're a total slacker, then being successful, admired, influential and seeing your ideas come to fruition exactly as you'd want them to is much more rewarding than the next million
        Since when did "total slacker" become an insult?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's going to be hilarious when this latest fad gets old...

  • *OR* No Deal??

    That's right, The Banker IS calling you a "sucka" right now!
  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RichPowers ( 998637 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:41PM (#16163320)
    So Yahoo! wants to shell out $900 mill for a service that's fast becoming another MySpace? Instead of maintaining its brilliant niche market - appealing to college kids through closed registration - Facebook decides to open registration. I fail to see the wisdom of that decision; MySpace already exists for everyone else. Facebook was, in a way, the anti-MySpace, a cooler, less annoying networking site. Users were PO'd about recent additions like the news ticker...just wait until the flood gates open and every emo, pedophile, jerk, and jackass on the Web starts signing up. PS: Web 2.0 bubble burst rapidly approaching, captain.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xENoLocO ( 773565 ) *
      And why would open registration make it fail? Just because you dislike the additions doesn't mean everyone else will. In fact, I would rather point out that you're in the minority in that thought. These guys are going to do whats best for the business, and opening registration means more money... plain and simple.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The open registration uses the facebook infrastructure, but is in a completely different, walled off partition than the existing college user space facebook.

      Orkut has a closed registration system and nobody gives a shit about them. There are obviously other factors involved.

  • Not bad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cunina ( 986893 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:44PM (#16163335)
    ... for an idea notorious scumbag Zuckerberg stole from his friends.
    • Re:Not bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by davidu ( 18 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:36PM (#16163593) Homepage Journal
      I don't know if what you say is true or not but it doesn't really matter (and sounds like someone has sour grapes).

      But I'll tell you this:

      Ideas aren't worth much if you can't execute on them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ThinkComp ( 514335 )
      Well, one of those [former] friends of his has just launched this: []

      Take a look at the timeline under "I'm New."
  • by Capt'n Hector ( 650760 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:46PM (#16163353)
    If Yahoo bought facebook and stuck the little Y! icon in the corner, I would leave. The whole reason us college students liked facebook in the first place was that was made by and for us, the college students. The only way for Yahoo to make back their money would be for them to sell the personal information (unless somehow the EULA prohibits it, which I hope is the case). If they do that, then we will revolt (see how well the "feed" feature went over, and that was information we already had), and facebook will be nothing more than a less neurotic version of myspace. Zukerberg, please don't sell. I LIKE facebook the way it is.
    • by protohiro1 ( 590732 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:22PM (#16163532) Homepage Journal
      I don't think Yahoo would sell the personal information because that would be suicidal, for the reasons you said. Yahoo wants facebook to fight off myspace. I question the widsom of this purchase, but I doubt their will be a mass defection. If you like facebook, why would a Y! scare you off? Has everyone deserted Flickr? I think $1 billion is way too much to pay for facebook, but I find it unlikely that yahoo would ruin the service.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It won't fail. At worst, the users will whine(that wasn't a revolt, that was a whine-fest); they're certainly not going to go through the effort to rebuild their social networks just because Facebook has gone commercial. This isn't the 60's, modern college students won't stick to their ideological beliefs through hard times.
      • they're certainly not going to go through the effort to rebuild their social networks just because Facebook has gone commercial.
        And really, why should they? It's not like Facebook was some sort of idealistic, let's-be-counter-culture site. It was always a social networking site, albeit smaller and more specialized than others. I don't think it has a lot of things that will be ruined by it going commercial.
    • If Yahoo buys, it will fail

      As far as I can tell, Flickr has boomed since Yahoo! came into the picture. If they can avoid trashing Flickr, maybe they can keep Facebook cool too, eh?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The whole reason us college students liked facebook in the first place was that was made by and for us, the college students.

      Climb down off your high horse. I've been a college student, and I'm also currently working on a Master's degree. Students don't sign up for Facebook because it's a snobby exclusive club just for them. They sign up because 1) it works, 2) it isn't ugly like Myspace, and 3) it offers reasonable privacy protection. Nobody really cares who made it or who runs it.

      Whether or not it's own

    • I would strongly reccomend reading the EULA, I did when I heard about it opening up. There is a nice phrase in there about "distributing your information to third parties without consent". Watch out.

      Remember, the way facebook makes money is through its users, leave and all these issues will be resolved.
    • by macx666 ( 194150 ) *
      Wow. You should read the EULA. No, seriously. It isn't that painful. While they can not sell your personal information directly (as in, here is joe blow's last list of girlfriends), they can agrigate it and show advertisers x% of students enjoy watching football and drinking beer. This is normal, done in tons of other places, and doesn't hurt you one bit. Frankly I am shocked that Facebook (at least not that I could find) is not selling aggregate statistics. Various university marketing departments would pa
    • The whole reason us college students liked facebook in the first place was that was made by and for us, the college students
      Why exactly does anyone care what website a bunch of students uses? I don't see how students are an advertiser's dream, as they're either poor or else in the same situation as others their age. In a couple of years time they'll either have jobs or be unemployed, either way they won't be students anymore.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @04:47PM (#16163360) Homepage
    Your plan worked! You managed to create a fad website and idiots are willing to give you 900 frickin million dollars for it! Take the money before they realize that Facebook is just a passing fad like boy-bands! Don't over-play your hand. Even Yahoo and Viacom aren't dumb enough to give you anything like 2 billion dollars for it.
  • Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

    Like you, I am from Palo Alto. I graduated from PALY. I think facebook is a pretty cool website (most of the time). However, I would strongly encourage you to take the money and run. Facebook is definately not worth that much money. Consumers are fickle, and most the users of facebook hate you anyways (perhaps because they are ignorant, but the fact remains..). Why bust your chops and lose $1BN for people who generally don't appreciate you nearly as much as they should?

    Good luck,
  • 1999 called... (Score:1, Insightful)

    They want their headline back
  • by DysenteryInTheRanks ( 902824 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @05:15PM (#16163501) Homepage
    I like Gawker's take [] on this:

    The 22-year-old founder of Facebook wants to sell for $1.5 billion, and the twit just might get away with it. You ready to kill yourself yet? Here, use our knife and be sure to cut vertically.

    I think anyone with any modicum of programming skill has been repeatedly slapping their forehead over the last year at the money being made from some very basic PHP scripts and what SEEMED like really silly ideas.

    Seriously -- if someone came to you a few years ago and was like, "Umm, ya, we're looking to take, like, Geocities, and mash it up with Blogger, and AOL Instant Messenger, except uglier than any of those things, and maybe graft on some awkward type capabilities, and leverage the awesome power of ColdFusion [], and we've registered an awesome domain name -- MYSPACE, get it, like My Space, like My Web Space ...", I mean -- really. Would you have been able to STOP laughing?

    Or if someone was like, "ya, I envision this site where everyone at every college can just upload all their personal info, pictures, basically just like Blogger, except only other people at their college can see it, and they can like join clubs and stuff, and groups, like any group they want, and post pictures of themselves doing bong hits, put the whole thing on a PHP/MySQL ball..."

    I'd be like, "ya, I don't see college kids posting pictures of themselves doing illegal things, first of all, dumbass. Secondly, why join an online group when you can join a REAL group, in real life, with live members of the opposite sex present? And thirdly, why should they use YOUR facebook when their college prolly has one of its own? Even if they did, why wouldn't they use Yahoo Groups and Blogger and AIM just like everyone else?"

    Shows how much I know.

    Ya, I could have built this stuff. I'm not even a CS major or programmer, but I know enough scripting (perl/ruby) and server admin I could have pulled it together. But I didn't! It never would have occured to me to make something so bloody simple and so minimally better than what is already out there.

    Just goes to show, it's all about the users, and if you're not a user, if you're not in their shoes, it's really hard to anticipate what will be exciting to them.
    • yeah, f'in A man. I was in college when these sites all started gaining popularity. I had an idea a day, now they've all been done and sold for $500m+.

      Even if this guy wants to be like jobs or something, take the fuckin money and run. 900 mil (even if he ends up with much less after taxes, etc) would be plenty to pick and choose funding of the Real Next Big Thing (Tm). But, thats just what I would do.
    • by inKubus ( 199753 )
      Try being in a band. It has nothing to do with the quality of the music or the songs. It's about getting people to listen. Likewise, social networking sites are sort of like the Amway of websites, because they make the users advertise (bring in new people) for them, in order to make the site more useful to the users. It's brilliant, but shaky. So, yes, ANYONE can start a social networking site, and some of them might be better, but you need people people people to make money money money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MP3Chuck ( 652277 )
      Thing is, anything sounds simple boiled down into one sentence. Slashdot is a "tech news aggregator" but it's one of the most popular sites on the internet. Same goes for Digg. deviantART is just an "online art community" but it's got 25 million submissions and a couple million members. The list goes on. Like some others said above, ideas are worthless without an execution. And even then, the quality of the execution makes all the difference.
  • why don't they just make their own...or make yahoo mail a social network eg. just take all the yahoo mail accounts and create a yahoo "network" account for them. next time they log in, ask if they can send an invite to everyone in their address book. bickety bam. done. and pretty much "free" in that it won't cost them almost a billion dollars.
  • If you happen to have Yahoo stock.

  • Ok, contestant, do you want door number one, door number two or door number three?
    I want... door number one... TWO! No, wait... oh Monty!
    Your time is running out, contestant...
    Ok, ok... door number THREE!!!!
    Carol, show our contestant what she won...
    Look! You have won... a donkey! Not just any donkey but a real live one from Pedros Farm in Mexico!!!
  • "Their current standing offer is $900 Million, with the deal including a degree of autonomy for the site and founder Mark Zuckerberg still in charge."

    He could be paid a batshit fucking insane amount of money to continue to be in charge of Facebook, meaning that he'll still have a say in the direction that it goes. I am interested, however, in how Yahoo would change it if they bought it, and if they'd tie it to existing Yahoo user accounts or turn it into another MySpace.

    I don't mind who owns Facebook,

    • I don't like it either, but if it's the most popular site on the internet then there must be somebody who likes it. And I guarantee you there are people who have equally harsh comments about the layout and format of Slashdot. Just as you'd call their stuff bloated and busy, they might call your stuff dull and dead.
  • pointcast deja vu (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maadmole ( 698240 )
    This is what Zuckerberg should be having nightmares about. m []
  • Sooo, why does google not just drop 2 really big ones for facebook. Google could easily incoperate everything together, mixing your blog with your notes and stuff like that. But it will never happen, I dont see google wanting facebook. Everyone please respond with why this is a bad idea.
  • What a horrible, horrible waste of money. Think of what you could build from scratch for $900M. Teenybopper internet users being as fickle as they are, they'll happily switch to the next flash-in-the-pan social networking site if it's better/flashier/trendier, and you could certainly one-up Fa(r)cebook with those kinds of dollars.
  • I dunno, I'm just confused. What's the difference between $900 million and $1500 million? Or $2000 million? Or 5000?

    What goes on inside people's minds when they are debating this sort of shite?

    [CEO Thought Bubble]: $1 Billion dollars means a baseball team, 2 small Islands and a nice fleet of cars and jets. Probably enough remaining in stocks for a comfortable living and the odd shopping spree.

    [devil]But 2 we're really talking. Just think of the possibilities. More celebrities to screw, 3 times
  • ... to see how many customers actually leave when major changes piss them off. Since the answer is "almost none", they now know it's safe to sell the site to whoever without fear of the userbase jumping ship.

    (Okay, so I don't actually believe that. But if I were more of a conspiracy theorist...)
  • Oh my GOD!!! He refuse to take it. If i am the owner, i will sell it for 899 mil. Its a deal man!! but no one want my websites :(

    may be the my idea not original enough :(

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra