Executives at both Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., among other companies, have held low-level talks with those at Twitter Inc. in recent months to explore the prospect of an acquisition of the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks have so far gone nowhere, these people say. But what's remarkable is the money that people familiar with the matter say frames the discussions with at least some potential suitors: an estimated valuation in the neighborhood of $8 billion to $10 billion. This for a company that, people familiar with the matter said, had 2010 revenue of $45 million—but lost money as it spent on hiring and data centers—and estimates its revenue this year at between $100 million and $110 million.
Less than three months ago, Facebook was valued at $50 billion on SecondMarket. This was pretty unofficial, but last month, the company raised $1.5 billion at a valuation of approximately $50 billion. The fact that Twitter could be purchased at a price of up to one fifth of Facebook is simply mind-blowing.