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The home page for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook today revealed details of its purchase of Instagram.
Facebook "reported" quarterly financials today, as part of the prelude to its IPO in May. Through a required filing with the SEC, we learned that it's costing a lot more to be Facebook, as profits dropped 12 percent, to $205 million from $233 million. We also learned how the Instagram deal is getting done. This is from the LATimes:
The regulatory filing also disclosed details of Facebook's agreement to buy Instagram. The company paid for the $1-billion deal with $300 million in cash and 23 million shares. Facebook placed a value of $30.89 apiece on its shares as of Jan. 31. Facebook said it would pay Instagram $200 million in cash if the government blocked the $1-billion deal.
So only 30 percent of the deal is in cash, which still isn't too bad for a company — Instagram — that didn't exist two years ago and has no revenues and no real business model (besides being sold to Facebook for $1 billion after it ate Facebook's lunch for a year in mobile photo uploading and sharing).
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Visitors watch a presentaiton of fetaures of the new Windows 8 operating system at the Microsoft stand on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany. Microsoft announced that its selling $550-million worth of former AOL patents to Facebook.
Microsoft recently beat out Facebook for the right to purchase 925 patents and patent applications from AOL. The winning bid? $1.6 billion. But now Microsoft has turned around and essentially flipped a large portion of that patent portfolio, and the buyer is...Facebook!
In the context of a declining stock market and problems in Europe, Facebook — and more accurately, Facebook's investors — has to be getting worried about its upcoming IPO, which is supposed to be able to value the company at $100 billion. The Instagram purchase was stage one. Now comes this big patent buy, with Facebook paying for $550-million worth of patents that Microsoft evidently doesn't really need.
That said, you could argue — as CNET's Paul Sloan implies — that Microsoft was just doing Facebook a nice, big favor by leveraging its balance sheet to vacuum up the AOL patents, sparing Facebook the need to spend any of its own cash. Microsoft is nowhere in social media, so a "long-standing alliance" with Facebook makes sense, as both companies pitch in to weaken Google.
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CEO/founder of Mashable Pete Cashmore attends the 14th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on June 14, 2010 in New York City.
Just a quick follow up on yesterday's rumor that CNN is buying Mashable for $200 million. Nobody has bought anybody yet. But at Phillymag, Brian Howard provides some useful speculation on what a sale could ultimately mean:
CNN’s interest is, ultimately, a nod to the future—a tacit acknowledgment that social media may finally be the panacea that allows the robots and algorithms that search the Internet for us to give us exactly what we want: the best content available. It could signal a return to the concept of content as king (rather than the content on the first page of search results, regardless of quality, as king).
Mashable is, by most objective standards, one of the best blogs on the Internet for coverage of social media and technology issues. How ironic indeed if this were to lead to its compromised relevance.