Did Peter Thiel have to practice in a mirror saying that Facebook is worth $8-billion, so that he didn’t smirk at the wrong time, or worse yet, burst out laughing? I wonder. The venture capitalist and former PayPal founder certainly seems to have pulled it off, since he got Bloomberg to publish that number with a straight face. Rupert Murdoch is going to kick himself for only saying MySpace is worth $6-billion.
As Mike Arrington has noted at TechCrunch, and Carlo has likewise pointed out over at Techdirt, this is exactly the kind of thing that companies say when they are looking to be acquired. Call it a combination of playing hard to get and fluffing up your feathers so that you become more attractive to the other birds. A kind of mating ritual.
Could Facebook actually be worth $8-billion? It all depends on your math. There’s no way in a million years that Yahoo (or anyone else, for that matter) is going to pay $8-billion in cash money for it — but will they pay a billion or $2-billion and then claim that they got $8-billion in value from it, as Rupert and his minions continually claim about MySpace? That’s got a better chance of happening.
As for the talk of Facebook doing an IPO, that is likely also posturing. If they actually try to do one, it will only prove — as Vonage’s IPO did — that their backers are nervous and want to get out as soon as possible.