Since Facebook's traffic is expanding fast, those who have been ambushed on their respective markets by the sudden rise of the social networking site will be interested to know this info: “Microsoft is weighing up taking a stake in Facebook in a move that could value the social networking site at more than $10 billion and trigger a bidding war, according to reports. The world’s largest software developer is considering paying between $300 million and $500 million for a 5 per cent 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.
The privately-owned Facebook has raised about $40 million in venture capital in the three and a half years since it was founded and is expanding fast. Staff levels have risen threefold since last year to more than 300 and further expansion could call for more investment. The site currently has about 40 million active users and is targeting 60 million by the end of the year. It has assembled an advertising business, which in the United States uses Microsoft as a partner, and has evolved into a distribution platform for third-party software applications, which can be used to market products and services. 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”. Source Rhys Blakely (http://business.timesonline.co.uk, september 26)