from MediaFile:

Google buys into Zynga – report

zynga-pokerGoogle has invested as much as $200 million in social gaming company Zynga, as it looks to bolster its presence in the world of online gaming, according to technology blog TechCrunch.

According to TechCrunch, the investment may have been in conjunction with Softbank Capital's deal to purchase a stake in Zynga, which makes games for social networks including Facebook and MySpace and profits by selling virtual goods.  In June, Nikkei reported that Softbank bought a stake in Zynga for about 13.5 billion yen ($147.4 million) through a private placement.

The site said that The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures and that Zynga will be "the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year." Zynga’s revenues for the first half of 2010 will be $350 million, half of which is operating profit, and is projecting at least $1.0 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the site.

Facebook is more than just a pretty face

The social networking website of Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) is now worth $23 billion, close to the value of online shopping website Ebay, based on the price of a recent stock purchase by private equity firm Elevation Partners. Elevation purchased $120 million in Facebook stock from private shareholders, valuing the company at $23 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

A valuation of that amount makes Facebook larger than Yahoo, which has a market capitalisation of $20 billion, and edging closer to the size of Ebay, at $27 billion. Still, it is a fraction the size of Google ($150 billion). Facebook’s backers include Digital Sky Technologies, Microsoft Corp Corp, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and venture capital firms Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

The morning deal: Charged up for an IPO

The Tesla Motors Model S hybrid car is seen plugged in to an electric outlet at the 2010 North American International Auto Show during press days in Detroit, Michigan, January 12, 2010.    REUTERS/Mark BlinchThe final pricing of Tesla Motors’ shares is expected later today. The electric car maker has yet to make a profit, and does not expect to make money until its Model S starts selling in significant volume. How strong will investors’ appetite be for his company?

*  Offshore oil and gas driller Noble agreed to buy privately held FDR Holdings for $2.16 billion. The deal, plus new Noble drilling contracts with Royal Dutch Shell, indicate the industry is preparing to increase offshore exploration despite the worst-ever oil spill in U.S. history.

*  Markets are on the mend but budget deficits need to be slashed and borrowing costs need to rise to avoid a new crisis, says the Bank for International Settlements in a call for action.

Wealthy clients ask about Facebook relationships for kids

Northern Trust has thought very carefully about how to communicate with its wealthy clients. In the U.S., it says it has people within a 45 minute drive of 50 percent of all of the millionaire households.

It advertises on NPR, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and local newspapers.

Now it might start “friending” people on Facebook.

“We had a client earlier this year who asked if we could be a friend to their child on (her) Facebook page because the child is a beneficiary of a trust that we manage and they said what better way to get to know my child when they’re awfully remote than to do this through the Facebook page?” said Lee Woolley, President of Northern Trust Bank’s Personal Financial Services division in Boston.

The family said Facebook would be a great way to communicate with the next generation of heirs before they inherit the family fortune.

Stirrings from Silicon Valley

As centers of innovation go, there are worse places to place a bet on the past repeating itself than California’s technology hub. Looking beyond the Internet, housing and credit bubbles, it’s still the preferred playground of such leading financial weathervanes as venture capitalists, gizmo nerds and software studs.

Perhaps Wall Street, searching for reasons to remain optimistic about the market’s summer rally, should take heart from the spate of articles painting pictures of green shoots all over Silicon Valley. The Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal notes that tech IPOs are staging a comeback, and asks if its time to party like it’s 1999?

Our reporting shows that investors, encouraged by a growing number of acquisitions and public stock flotations in the past few months, are keeping a close eye on a coterie of promising startups in Silicon Valley. David Lawsky identified six privately held companies as the ripest for acquisition or readiness to go public, out of 34 cited in industries ranging from alternative energy to social networking.

from MediaFile:

Facebook-Twitter: the deal that could have been

Microsoft/Yahoo, Samsung/SanDisk, Electronic Arts/Take-Two....Facebook/Twitter?

According to Kara Swisher of All Things Digital, Facebook had talked for several weeks about buying micro-blogging site Twitter for $500 million in stock, and then gave up on the idea about three weeks ago.

The sticking point apparently was price -- whether the deal valued Facebook shares too highly. "But, more important, it seems, was a feeling among Twitter investors and execs that the start-up should still take a shot at building its revenues-there are none right now-as well as it had done at building its growth," Swisher writes.

But she notes that Twitter needs all the investors it can get, and while the lack of revenue was an issue for Facebook, it may revisit the deal at another time. "We'd hate to see Twitter go to another company," like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or Verizon, she said, citing an unnamed source.

BCE deal gets a busy signal

bce.jpgBanks financing the $34.8 billion private equity buyout of BCE have been hammering away all weekend to win higher interest rates, tighter loan restrictions and stronger protections that far exceed the original terms, according to the New York Times. Citing people on both sides of the transaction, the paper said talks began to fray late on Friday but lasted all weekend. “It’s patently obvious that the banks have no intention of closing the deal,” said one executive who read the revised terms. Investors have long worried that the massive private equity buyout might be repriced, delayed or abandoned altogether. Looming over the discussions is the spectre of the Clear Channel deal, in which some of the very same lenders also tried to back out, producing an ugly tangle of court cases that was only resolved last week.

Microsoft said it proposed an alternative deal to Yahoo rather than a full acquisition, but a person who knows the mind of Carl Icahn, the man driving trying to unseat Yahoo’s board, said the move was likely to prompt the billionaire investor to nudge Yahoo back toward Google. This source isn’t just familiar with the matter, but has a taste for rustic allusions: “Microsoft is trying to get the milk without buying the cow, and if you look at Icahn’s history, he has never been used that way.” Microsoft did not clarify what that alternative deal might be.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed his company’s independent spirit, after a report said the social networking site might be sold to software giant Microsoft, which is hunting for ways to beef up its Internet business. “You can tell, from our history and what we’ve done, that we really wanted to keep the company independent, by focusing on building and focusing on the long-term,” Zuckerberg told Reuters while in Japan to launch a Japanese language version of Facebook. Microsoft already has a small stake and the Wall Street Journal said this month the software giant, with the Yahoo deal in limbo, had approached Facebook to gauge its interest in a full takeover.

PE Hub: Facebook’s Valuation Problem

Dan Primack of Thomson Reuters’ PE Hub takes a look at the implications of the $240 million that Microsoft invested in Facebook last year:

The WSJ recently reported that Microsoft is sniffing around Facebook, less than seven months after investing $240 million in the social network at a $15 billion valuation. It was largely discounted as the hopeful fumblings of Steve Ballmer, in his search for a rebound acquisition after being dumped by Yahoo. But it got me to thinking: Microsoft’s initial investment may be one of the worst venture capital deals of all time.

Click here to read the full article.

On a related note, check out this uncomfortably literal depiction of Facebook from BBC’s “The Wall.”