Why the Facebook/Yahoo Deal Won't Happen So Soon

Sep.21.06 | About: Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

Buzz about Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) $1 billion offer for Facebook -- which I first reported last week in my column, titled 'Facebook's Growing Pains' -- is getting louder. Today, my WSJ colleagues reported the same story about Yahoo's interest in Facebook, and the $1 billion offer made in July. The report suggested that discussions have resumed. Facebook is in "serious discussions - again," according to the report.

Here's the skinny. Discussions have accelerated, but a deal is still far away, according to a source close to Facebook. Facebook has yet to choose investment bankers. For such a major event in this company's life, it would certainly require investment bankers to help find other suitors or help drive the best deal for the social network.

It's quite a coincidence that such overtures on Yahoo's part would accelerate after my column brought the Internet giant's interest to light. After all, any publicity that makes Facebook appear increasingly valuable would certainly prompt potential acquirers (like Yahoo) to start sniffing around again, or at least make a few phone calls, before other suitors begin to show up at Facebook's front door. Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig would love to own Facebook, I bet.

In any event, Yahoo's warning about third-quarter sales does suggest that the Net giant is in desperate need of a fast-growing property. The question is, will Facebook want to be part of Yahoo? Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has told me a couple times that he sees his company as a technology company first.

What does Facebook's board member Jim Breyer say?

"The Board (there are only 3 of us) and team simply continue to do everything that we can to release and build the new products and services that we hope are deeply compelling to our user base. No one can ever predict how merger and IPO exits will play out in the future but we can do our very best to keep adding great members to the team and building the best service possible."

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