Facebook status update: We're worth $50 billion!
Apparently, becoming the most widely-visited site on the Internet, knocking Google off that perch in the process, is worth a few bucks.
The news that Goldman Sachs and a Russian investment firm called Digital Sky Technologies had combined to put $500 million into Facebook--giving the still-private social-networking firm a valuation of $50 billion--gave people an excuse to break out their spreadsheets, both to compare the Palo Alto, Calif., firm with other companies and to speculate about how its initial public offering might go.
(The New York Times first reported the deal over the weekend, crediting Goldman with $450 million of the overall investment; a subsequent report by the Financial Times cited a larger share by DST. I can't confirm either breakdown, but I am told that the overall numbers are correct.)
At $50 billion, Facebook would be worth less than the following firms:
* Exxon Mobil, the highest-valued corporation in America according to the stock market: $376 billion
* Google (which also tried to buy a stake in Facebook in 2007 but got beaten by Microsoft): $193 billion
* Goldman Sachs itself: $94 billion
* Cable-TV provider Comcast, apparently soon to acquire NBC Universal: $61 billion
But at $50 billion Facebook would outrank these corporations, among others:
* News Corp., which owns the MySpace social network that was once the Facebook of its day: $40 billion
* Bethesda-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin: $25 billion
* Seattle-based caffeine purveyor Starbucks: $25 billion
* The Washington Post Co.: $4 billion (Post Co. chairman Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors.)
* AOL, which lost all hope of being the Internet's most popular site years ago: $3 billion
* The Washington Redskins, which Forbes estimated had a net worth of $1.6 billion in 2010, making it the second-most-valuable team in the NFL behind the Dallas Cowboys. (Well, in a financial sense.)
Then again, that nice round $50 billion number for Facebook could turn out to be wrong.
"It's really hard to tell if this is a fair valuation at this point," e-mailed Thanasis Delistathis, managing partner at Reston-based New Atlantic Ventures. "It's certainly aggressive. But it could be a great option as part of a large portfolio."
Or Facebook could elect to stay private. Nobody is in a position to force the company to sell stock to the public--certainly not this year. And by 2012? We could be looking at a much larger estimate.
| January 3, 2011; 5:01 PM ET
Categories: Social media, The business we have chosen
Save & Share: Previous: Angry Birds hits PlayStation as a mini title
Next: Is 2011 the year of the tablet, 3DTV?
Posted by: janetwall | January 3, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FranknErnest | January 3, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse