When Facebook acquired FriendFeed in the summer of 2009, it was widely-reported to be a fairly straightforward “acqui-hire” deal. The price was more complicated.
$50 million sounded good on paper, but it was believed that only a small amount was in cash, the rest was in Facebook stock. It was Facebook stock which was just valued at $6.5 billion thanks to the DST investment. Some felt that it was overpriced, and as such, not a great deal for FriendFeed.
Boy were they wrong.
Looking at Facebook’s just-released S-1, Alyson Shontell of Business Insider noticed that in August 2009 (the month of the FriendFeed deal), Facebook issued just over 11 million shares of Class B common stock to ten individuals and one entity — this is most definitely the FriendFeed team, their individuals investors, and probably their lead VC firm, Benchmark Capital.
Today, leading up to their IPO, Facebook is worth just shy of $100 billion. Those FriendFeed shares are now worth around $330 million as a result. In other words, their August 2009 acquisition has shot up just about 7x in value since that time.
Certainly, some of the players have since sold off those shares in subsequent Facebook raises or on the secondary markets and have done well as a result. But those that didn’t have been rewarded very handsomely.
A 10x exit on paper magically turned into a 70x exit. And counting, by the way…
Now I’ll use this opportunity to once again link to the first post I ever wrote for TechCrunch in April 2009, four months before the deal: You Will Be Using FriendFeed In The Future — But It May Be Called Facebook