In the Web 2.0 parlor game of deciding who's going to buy facebook, guessing "Google" isn't exactly earth-shattering, but it's probably the most accurate guess one could make. Saul Hansell of the New York Times Bits Blog does just that, reasoning that Google might buy facebook just to cockblock rivals (a little too late for that, as I'm not sure any of Google's rivals would pony up the $$ at this point). Our guess at DB is "none of the above" - since we don't think any company will (would or should) pay what Zuckerberg wants for his "platform," and the thing will just IPO in early 2009 or even late next year.
Facebook's growth, and more importantly, it's marketing, give Zuckerberg most of the negotiating leverage when it comes to a potential deal. From the Bits Blog:
The bottom line is that this gives Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s young founder, chief executive and largest stockholder, a lot of options. He can sell the company for a lot of money, take it public or just grow with internally generated cash as was the strategy at Google, a company he idolizes.
By the way, if Zuckerberg does sell, my guess is that it’s Google that buys Facebook. Yahoo needs it much more. But Google has a penchant for using its financial muscle to keep hot companies out of the hands of rivals (wresting YouTube from the News Corporation and DoubleClick from Microsoft, for example).
3.6 Million New Faces [New York Times Bits Blog via DealBook]