Google CEO Eric Schmidt has acknowledged he realized upfront that he was overpaying to acquire YouTube, to the tune of $1 billion, judged by any conventional measures.
The many critics of Google's $1.65 billion deal to acquire the video-sharing site three years ago will claim this confirms everything they have always said about the deal. Not quite.
In fact, not really at all.
Schmidt came clean in a deposition by lawyers in the Viacom copyright lawsuit that there was very little revenue coming into YouTube to justify the price his company paid.
No surprises here. There were intangibles to consider:
1. YouTube's popularity was sky-rocketing, making it the runaway market leader among video-sharing sites.
2. It was crushing his company's own site, Google Video.
3. YouTube was up for auction and would be sold to a competitor unless Google jumped first.
4. Google overbid to ensure YouTube didn't fall into rival hands.
The Google CEO said he told his company's board of directors that the 18-month-old video-sharing site was worth $600 million to $700 million, according to CNet, which obtained a transcript of his testimony. Of course, he fails to mention the potential costs of copyright lawsuits that already loomed for YouTube.