The NY Post is reporting this morning that Google and Microsoft are going to do whatever it takes to keep a Facebook stake out of each other’s hands – a bidding war that may drive Facebook’s valuation very high and would certainly be a boon for current Facebook investors (and employees). According to the article,
Microsoft and Google are each vying to take a stake of between 5 percent and 10 percent in Mark Zuckerberg’s social-networking site, with a deal expected to be announced in the next 24 to 48 hours, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Google, in keeping with its past modus operandi, has been trying to drive the price up to a point that would scare away Microsoft. Running point for the Internet giant in its talks with Facebook is Tim Armstrong, the same executive who helped Google elbow Microsoft out of a deal with AOL similar to the one being talked about with Facebook.
This time around, however, Microsoft is hanging tough, despite recent comments by CEO Steve Ballmer that social-networking sites were “a bit faddish.” One source said the Redmond, Wash.-based company is “willing to give any valuation possible” to keep Facebook away from Google.
Traditionally, Google has demonstrated its willingness to “overpay” (AOL, MySpace) in order to keep competitors out of the game. It sounds like this time Microsoft is more serious. The rumors say to look for an announcement perhaps as early as in the next few days.
Separately, Facebook this week sent bold invitations to Madison Avenue for an announcement on November 6th where Facebook will purportedly announce a new advertising platform that will offer profile-enhanced targeting and targeting based on properties of your personal network of friends, perhaps even off-Facebook, all in a simplified way that advertising executives in New York can manage more effectively.
According to Radar, Facebook has signed up 9 “Landmark Partners” for the announcement, including Condé Nast, Nike, Apple, Sony, General Motors, Coke, CBS, Chase, and Verizon.
Coincidentally or not, November 6th is the day after Google is rumored to announce its upcoming social network plans. We’ll see what happens between now and then.
[tags]facebook, google, microsoft, advertising, investment, agencies[/tags]