With the Yahoo! debacle behind it, Microsoft has turned, as expected, to smaller social networking sites for possible acquisition. First up, according to a report today in "The Wall Street Journal" is Facebook.
Though neither company will comment on any potential deal, Microsoft's investment bankers have reportedly contacted Facebook to see if the company is interested in a sale. That said, there are no active discussions between the two companies, so it's unclear whether anything is in the works. What is clear, however, is that Microsoft has made inquiries.
Microsoft already owns 1.6 percent of Facebook, thanks to a $240 million investment last year, which valued the social networking site at $15 billion. Few believe Facebook is worth anywhere near that, however. The site currently has about 109 million unique visitors a month, making it the fifth most-visited Web property after Google (625 million), Microsoft (563 million), Yahoo! (505 million), and MySpace (117 million).
While Facebook's numbers are up dramatically year over year, the company has faltered in its bid to monetize its popularity. Facebook makes very little via advertising, and half of its revenues from 2007 were derived directly from Microsoft's investment.
In a related note, Yahoo! has also moved on since the aborted merger with Microsoft. The company is allegedly still talking with Time Warner about a potential merger of Yahoo! and AOL. And Yahoo! is still considering outsourcing part of its Internet search operation to Google.