It was the summer of 2006. Facebook was just two years old, and strictly a college site, with some 8 or 9 million users. And the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, met with board members Jim Breyer and Peter Thiel to discuss Yahoo’s $1 billion buyout offer.
As we all know, Zuckerberg ended up turning down the money, in what has become one of the most infamous moves in the last 10 years of tech. But the wunderkind recently found himself on the other side of the negotiating table, with even more money at stake…
The founders of Snapchat, a rapidly growing messaging service, recently met with Facebook to discuss an all-cash acquisition offer worth $3 billion or more, reports The Wall Street Journal. And just like Zuckerberg before them, they chose to walk away from the money.
Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t the first time Facebook had approached them:
“Facebook had earlier offered to buy Snapchat for more than $1 billion, the people briefed on the matter said. In recent weeks, Facebook representatives contacted Snapchat again to discuss an all-cash offer that would have valued Snapchat at $3 billion or more. At that price, it would be Facebook’s largest acquisition, more than double the nearly $1 billion it paid for photo-sharing social network Instagram in 2012.”
So why is Facebook so interested? Easy. In addition to using the site to share status updates and photos with friends, it wants you to use it to talk to them as well—especially on mobile (see redesigned Messenger app). And right now, more people are doing this on Snapchat.
Snapchat founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel
Other investors are interested as well. Citing sources familiar with the talks, the Journal says that Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has offered to lead an investment that would value the two-year-old company—which doesn’t generate any revenue—at $4 billion.
From the sounds of it, though, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel won’t be considering any offers until at least sometime next year. It’s believed that he’s hoping that his company’s numbers—of users and messages—will have grown enough by then to justify an even larger valuation.