Microsoft has bought a 1.6 % stake in Facebook for 240 million dollars. The deal comes after Facebook rejected a take over bid of 1 billion dollars from Yahoo! last year.
Facebook is privately owned and currently valued at US$15 billion. Microsoft will now become the exclusive third-party advertising partner for Facebook, looking to increase Facebook’s current annual revenue of US$100 million.
The Facebook investment provides the world’s largest software maker with a toehold on one of the internet’s most popular social networks, and a potentially lucrative forum for selling online ads.
With 49 million active users worldwide, Facebook is now outgrowing MySpace, which has over 200 million worldwide members. Facebook’s executives and investors claim the site is growing at between, 3 and 3.5% a week and could overtake MySpace in as little as nine months.
In September, Facebook was the sixth most visited property worldwide with 73.5 million unique visitors, and the fifth most highly trafficked property worldwide with 34.5 billion page views, according to ratings agency comScore.
Microsoft faced stiff competition from Google, who were aggressively pursuing a similar investment deal. There has been no indication from Facebook, if there will be any further investment opportunities.