We've written time and time again on the growth, increasing value and added functionality of Facebook and what that means to business all around the world. And then what happens? They secure another $500m worth of funding from Goldman Sachs and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies!
Estimates now value the company at $50bn, which is a rise of $9bn in 1 month! In fact, to call the rise in value of Facebook as meteoric would be an understatement. Let's just track that value over the last three years...
In 2007, Facebook was said to be
worth $15bn, but that valuation dropped at the height of recession to
$3.7bn - quite a hefty drop off. Since then however, it's rise in value
has been unstoppable, and was muted in September of this year to be at
$33bn, then in November/December to be hovering around $41bn, and now -
following it's latest round of investment, sits at $50bn.
(NB: all valuations from Second Market).
All of which means that Facebook has lots and lots of money at it's disposal, but what does the social network that has (or plans on having) everything spend its cash on?
Reports say that the purchase of new physical premises - i.e. the Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California would facilitate the growth in personnel that needs to happen at Facebook so that's one option that would happily swallow up a big chunk of Facebook's money. And staying on the topic of personnel, that's definitely something that Facebook needs more of: when you consider that a company like Starbucks - which is worth nowhere near $50bn has around 120,000 employees compared to Facebook's 1,500, it's clear that Facebook will need more people - especially if it is to hit that magic 1 billion users anytime soon.
Facebook could also buy some stuff - like other tech companies such as Skype, or Zynga (its close social gaming friend), or it could launch a rival ad platform outside of Facebook (which is set to serve 1trillion ads per day pretty soon) to rival AdWords or AdSense.
The point is, I guess, that Facebook could probably buy what they wanted so we can speculate forever. Much more fun, we though was to look through the various forums, chartrooms and comments sections of our favourite sites and see what the public think Facebook should buy. Below are the top 10...
1. Buy MySpace
3. Buy Foursquare
4. Enter Social Commerce (by buying Groupon, which would really get up Google's nose)
5. Donate money to the Australian flood victims
6. Donate money to Australian cricket
7. Develop an all-in-one low cost cloud suite customizable to business needs
8. Buy Skype and put servers on INDONESIA (3rd largest users worldwide)
9. Buy Quora
10. Improve its customer service function