Rumors of Metacafe sale abound

Israel's Ynet news is reporting that video sharing site Metacafe has been sold, possibly to Yahoo, for $200 million, and the rest of the blogs are jumping -- cautiously -- on the bandwagon. Tel Aviv-based Metacafe is three years old and backed by some big name VCs, including Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners. According to the most recent comScore figures, the site ranks third in video-sharing sites, behind YouTube and Google Video, based on "global traffic and page views." TechCrunch is going with the rumor, but GigaOm is holding back: "We've been hearing about this for the past few weeks, but never from a source with first-hand knowledge of the deal. Both Metacafe and Yahoo, the rumored buyer, deny it up and down." The U.S. public relations contacts for the company are thus far unresponsive.

Why does it matter? If true, the purchase price will be the first hard number to put the $1.65 billion GooTube deal into context -- and it would signal a major new play by Yahoo, hard on the heals of Tuesday's Hollywood Massacre.

On the numbers: October's comScore data puts Metacafe at 3.8 million unique visitors in the U.S. vs. 23 million for YouTube, roughly six times more for YouTube. Let's make the dangerous assumption that the $200 million price tag is accurate. Well, six times $200 million is only $1.2 billion, not $1.65 billion. So, if Ynet is on the mark, then Google paid a 33% premium vs. what this mystery buyer is willing to cough up for Metacafe. Was the big brand on the block effectively worth that extra $400 million? Sounds at least plausible, particularly given that the purchase was made in GOOG shares, and $400 million is less than 1% of Google's current $147 billion market cap. Rounding error for Sergei and Larry, though perhaps not for Mr. Semel.
Posted by Oliver Ryan 4:34 PM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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