Microsoft is thinking of taking a stake in social networking site Facebook in a move that could value Facebook at more than $10 billion (£4.97 billion) and trigger a bidding war. Microsoft, world’s largest software developer is considering paying between $300 million and $500 million for a 5% stake in Facebook, according to The Wall Street Journal. Any move by Microsoft on one of the web’s hottest properties could spark a counter bid from Google, the leader in search advertising, analysts suggested.
Facebook the privately-owned site has raised about $40 million in venture capital in the three and a half years since it was founded with 40 million active users with targets at 60 million at the end of the year. Staff levels have risen threefold since last year to more than 300 and further expansion could call for more investment. The group is expected to achieve revenues of more than $100 million this year – a figure likely to be regarded as disappointing given the huge levels of traffic it attracts. Facebook now claims around 60 billion page views per month.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 23-year-old co-founder and chief executive, has already rebuffed takeover approaches from groups including Yahoo, which is thought to have offered about $1 billion a year ago. Mr Zuckerberg has repeatedly said he intends to keep the group independent. (source: Timesonline)
Tesco is at loggerheads with regulators over the acquisition of five Somerfield stores. The Office of Fair Trading has invited rival supermarkets to comment on Tesco’s planned acquisition of stores in the North of England and North Hykeham in Lincolnshire, raising the prospect of an investigation into each store purchase. Tesco with a control of about 30% of the UK’s grocery market, is already the main target of a Competition Commission investigation into the power of the supermarkets. The provisional findings are expected to be revealed next month. Last week, the Competition Commission said that it had provisionally found that Tesco’s acquisition of a former Coop site in Slough had reduced competition in the area. Tesco was ordered to stop developing the site last month while the commission carried out an investigation, the first into the acquisition of just one store. (source: Timesonline)
40% Proportion of UK online advertising spending taken by Google
80% Estimated proportion of adverts that would be accounted for by combined Google and DoubleClick
$2bn Estimated profit made by Hellman & Friedman, DoubleClick’s owner
$3.9bn Google’s most recent quarterly revenue