How Microsoft Tried, and Failed, to Buy Facebook

Paul Lilly

A senior exec at Microsoft admitted that the rowdy bunch from Redmond did actively try to scoop up mega social networking site Facebook, confirming reports that first appeared in David Kirkpatrick's book, "The Facebook Effect," TechCrunch reports .

"Yeah, we tried to acquire Facebook," Microsoft Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisition Fritz Lanman admitted at the Le Web conference in Paris. "Facebook had a lot of similarities to Microsoft back in the day."

Lanman didn't go into details about the failed acquisition, like how much Microsoft was willing to pay or proposed terms of the deal. But according to Kirkpatrick, Steve Ballmer was willing to spend $15 billion on Facebook, the exact amount Zuckerberg told Ballmer he was trying to get his company valued at. So what happened?

As the story goes, Zuckerberg said "I don't want to sell the company unless I can keep control." Ballmer didn't bite, though Microsoft did eventually ink an advertising deal and invest $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the company.

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