Microsoft Turns to Facebook After Failed Yahoo Bid

By Jason Simpkins
Associate Editor

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) bankers recently contacted Facebook Inc. and made inquiries about purchasing the popular social networking site, the Wall Street Journal reported.  

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No active discussions have been held between the two companies, but Microsoft has been on the prowl since withdrawing its bid for Yahoo Inc. (YHOO).

Last year, Microsoft bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook Inc. for $240 million, has expressed an interest in buying the site over the past three years. But Facebook's Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been reluctant to sell, opting instead to work towards an initial public offering.

Facebook, with more than 70 million users, drew 109.2 million visitors in March, according to comScore Inc., an improvement of 240% from a year ago. The company expects between $300 million and $350 million in revenue this year, up from $150 million last year, the Journal reported.

A tie-up with Facebook is one of the options Money Morning previously identified as an avenue Microsoft could pursue as a means of drawing consumer traffic and advertisers to its online services.

The company may also look to Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) AOL or News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox Interactive Media business units. Many analysts have also suggested Yahoo and Microsoft might return to the bargaining table. Legg Mason Inc. (LM) fund manager Bill Miller is one of those analysts.

"I'm more puzzled by Microsoft's not going up to $37 than Yahoo's wanting to walk away," Miller said told Bloomberg News. "If they want to be a viable competitor, I would expect them to come back."

Microsoft withdrew its bid for Yahoo Saturday after the country's second largest web portal turned down its $33 a share, $47.5 billion offer.

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