With the filing of Facebook's IPO earlier this month, the social media giant appears poised to reach a valuation between $75 and $100 billion. And the haul for Mark Zuckerberg, the company's founder and CEO? It's believed that he will be worth over $28 billion. At age 27. This sort of astronomical amount of money begs a real question: what can one do with $28 billion? Well, for starters, there's a number of other competing websites and companies in the same sector that Zuckerberg could buy outright should he liquidate his shares.
As Facebook and Google (GOOG) continue to jockey for the coveted spot as the most visited website in the world, it's important to note that simply purchasing his primary rival is not an option for Mr. Zuckerberg. With a market cap just shy of $200 billion, Google appears to be just a tad outside Zuckerberg (or anyone's) price range.
The highly symbiotic relationship between game-maker Zynga and Facebook has been well documented. While its long been pointed out that Zynga relies on Facebook, which takes a hefty percentage of Zynga's profits, for almost all of its revenue, the picture grew more interesting when Facebook's S-1 filing revealed that Zynga represented 12 percent of Facebook's overall revenue. So, what happens should Zuckerberg decide that he's tired of splitting profits and just wants to buy Zynga outright? It would cost him a little more than a third of his net worth. Currently valued at just over $10 billion, Zynga's well within his price range.
Groupon's highly publicized IPO was followed by a highly publicized stumble when share prices tanked in the weeks following shares hitting the open market. While the company has fought back, questions persist about the long-term viability of the company's business model, and its tax-related loss in Q4 certainly didn't boost the confidence of shareholders. So, what if Mark Zuckerberg decided he wants a Groupon. Like, all of them. He'd have to shell out $12.34 billion based on Tuesday's closing price. Which would still mean that, after purchasing Zynga and Groupon, Zuckerberg would still be playing with about $6 billion. Maybe more if he could get a bunch of his friends together and try to leverage a discount on the share prices by buying together.
As Zuckerberg continues to tear his way through social media stocks, the next on his list would have to be LinkedIn, the career-oriented networking site. Despite Monster's (MWW) BeKnown just linking up with Facebook, Zuckerberg might just feel like going for the trifecta and buying up all three of the other major sites in the industry. And suddenly, Zuckerberg may find himself hard-up for cash. While LinkedIn's market cap of $8.21 billion is an easy buy for him prior to his spending spree, Zuckerberg would be unable to get the company along with Zynga and Groupon. Even if he had gotten a jump on things and tried to buy before the release of a strong Q4 report after market close Thursday caused a nearly 18 percent jump in share price, the company was still worth $7.3 billion at that point.
Known to many as the Chinese Facebook, Renren might be the sort of buy that Zuckerberg could make without breaking the bank. With a market cap just over $2 billion, Zuckerberg could buy his biggest competitor on the Pacific rim without batting an eye. Heck, he might even have that much on him.
Remember when AOL was the biggest internet company out there? Yeah, me neither. Now valued at $1.76 billion, AOL could easily be another throw in. Want a spectacularly lavish ironic gag gift for your girlfriend's birthday? This could be it.
Speaking of fallen giants, Yahoo, once an industry titan, has fallen by the wayside and been pushed out of the search engine game by Google and Microsoft's (MSFT) Bing. Buyout rumors have since been swirling around the company for months. While a number of companies have been named as potentially being interested in Yahoo, it's worth noting that with a market cap of $19 billion, Zuckerberg could buy it outright provided that he's willing to pass on the other social media sites.
Richard Branson once said that the fastest way to become a millionaire is to become a billionaire and buy an airline. Well, Mark Zuckerberg has the opportunity to buy ALL the airlines. If one combines the total market cap for Delta (DAL), United Continental (UAL), U.S. Airways (LCC), Spirit (SAVE), Southwest Airlines (LUV), and what's left of American Airlines (AAMRQ), it still comes to just $27.5 billion. Of course, he would have to pass on any other purchases, but imagine how he could lord it over the other CEOs. Plenty of people have private jets, but a private airline monopoly? There's a status symbol for you.
So, were you Mark Zuckerberg and looking to spend all of your hard-earned...stock, which way would you go? Of the three other major American social media companies, poor Mark would only be able to purchase two. Groupon and Zynga? LinkedIn and Groupon? Zynga and Groupon? Maybe ignore social media completely (as he already has one) and buy Yahoo, Renren, and AOL? Then there's that whole buy all the airlines idea. It's all so tough!
It's true what they say: more money more problems.
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