Tech’s Biggest Deals That Never Were

Google’s share price has been spiking over the past week and is on its way to surpassing a market cap of a cool half-trillion. It’s insane to think that at one point Larry Page and Sergey Brin were turned down when they tried to sell Google for $750 thousand. Here’s a look at some massive missed opportunities in the past decade that we can probably be thankful never happened.

Blockbuster passes on buying Netflix for $50 million

Blockbuster was ready for the transition from VHS to DVD, but the move to streaming content? They didn’t quite catch that one. Netflix reportedly approached Blockbuster multiple times about an acquisition when they were initially losing money. Blockbuster passed, and was eventually sold to Dish Network for $320 million in 2011. Today, Netflix is worth around $50 billion.

Excite blows off $750 thousand purchase of Google

Excite, a search engine dinosaur founded in 1995, had already rejected Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s $1 million price for Google in 1999. One of Excite’s VCs, Vinod Khosla, actually talked Page and Brin down to sell their company for $750 thousand, but the CEO turned that down as well. Google’s market cap is about to cross $500 billion, go check out what Excite is up to lately.

Yahoo’s $3 billion offer isn’t enough to woo Google

yahoo-purple-sign-1920-800x450Yahoo saw its best opportunity to buy Google come in 2002, but wasn’t willing to go for the $5 billion price that Page and Brin reportedly wanted. Google walked away, and left Yahoo in the dust.

Facebook turns down a cool billion dollar offer from Yahoo

Facebook was two years old in 2006, when the 22-year-old Zuckerberg called a meeting with primary investors Peter Thiel and Jim Breyer to discuss a $1 billion offer from Yahoo.

At SXSW, Thiel spoke about the encounter:

“Both Breyer and myself on balance thought we probably should take the money,” recalled Thiel. “But Zuckerberg started the meeting like, ‘This is kind of a formality, just a quick board meeting, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. We’re obviously not going to sell here’.”

A year later, Facebook turns down a $15 billion offer from Microsoft

In 2007, both Google and Microsoft were trying to latch onto the explosive success of Facebook. Ballmer reportedly made the bold move of offering $15 billion for the company that by then had already amassed 500 million users. Facebook turned them down and Microsoft ended up securing a 1.6 percent stake of Facebook for about $240 million at the $15 billion valuation.

Microsoft tries to blow $44.6 billion on Yahoo

In the pre-Bing days of Microsoft, the giant was desperate to enter the space. So desperate that in February of 2008, they put out a $44.6 billion bid to acquire Yahoo. When the deal fell through, Microsoft announced Bing the following year and has had a pretty rocky time keeping it going since.A Yahoo purchase in 2008 would’ve meant major profits for Microsoft from Yahoo’s Alibaba investment, but otherwise the purchase likely would’ve just added to Microsoft’s identity crisis.

Facebook tries to grab Twitter for $500 million of its stock

This one could’ve been crazy. Reportedly, in the late aughts Zuckerberg approached Twitter with the intent of purchasing the young microblogging service for $500 million in Facebook stock. Twitter turned them down as the service was still in its early stages and gaining popularity.

Snapchat rejects $3 billion offer from Facebook

When news broke in 2013 that Facebook had reportedly offered Snapchat more than $3 billion for the service, and furthermore that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel had turned it down, people were pretty shocked. The ephemeral selfie app was still being talked about as a sexting tool, even while it was gaining millions of users at a pretty astonishing rate. Despite people’s dumbfounded reactions at the moment, Snapchat’s most recent valuation places it at $15 billion so joke’s on them.

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