Microsoft pays a premium to get some Facebook

OK so this is old news now, but it just dawned on me how much Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) paid for a bit of the Facebook pie. First, let’s put things into perspective:

Investor Site Unique visitors
(GigaOM Sep 2007)
Traffic Growth
On previous month
Purchase
Price
News Corp MySpace 68,449,000 +0.1% $580 million
Google YouTube 47,486,000 +5.8% $1.65 billion
Microsoft Facebook 30,601,000 -9.3% $15 billion
($240 million for 1.6%)

These figures are from Comscore, and I believe they cover US traffic only, yet they illustrate the sort of value that Microsoft got when compared to other similar acquisitions by News Corp and Google.

Facebook is definitely growing faster in some places such as the UK where it is now nearly the size of MySpace, however I think a lot of that growth could be from the novelty factor; when you first sign up you’re addicted for a few weeks whilst you add all your old school friends, but then the novelty wears off. Personally, I used Facebook a lot more initially and now that has tapered off such that I now check it once per week or less.

It’s clear to me that Microsoft has paid well over the odds to stop Google getting yet another gain in ad inventory as it did by buying into AOL, YouTube and DoubleClick and by striking an advertising deal with MySpace. What’s not clear is how well Microsoft will be able to sell Facebook’s audience to their adCenter advertisers.

Mark Zuckerberg

Whatever happens, Mark Zuckerberg is happy!

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