Facebook Mergers and Acquisitions

The History of Companies Facebook Has Purchased, Merged or Partnered With

Facebook is a relatively young company given that is was founded in February of 2004. But it didn’t take Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, long to realize that the best way to innovate your product and build a company with talented employees was to buy another company.

Even in the midst of a becoming a publicly traded company, Facebook purchased Instagram, Lightbox and Face.com, just to name a few. And don’t expect the buying spree to slow down. Here is a timeline of the companies Facebook has acquired (some you may have heard of but most will not be familiar), what they did with the product and employees of the acquired companies.

01
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July 20, 2007 – Acquires Parakey

Facebook bought Parakey, a web-operating system that makes image, video, and writing transfer to the web easier for an undisclosed sum. Facebook integrated the Parakey system into Facebook Mobile (app launched July 2010) and also acquired talent from the Parakey team.

02
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August 10, 2009 – Acquires FriendFeed

FriendFeed is a real-time news feed that consolidates updates from a variety of social media sites. Facebook bought it for $50 million and integrated the FriendFeed technologies into their service including the “Like” feature and an emphasis on real-time news updates. Facebook also adds talent from the FriendFeed team.
03
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Feb 19, 2010 – Acquires Octazen

Octazen was a contact importer that fetched a list of contacts, making it easy for users to invite their contacts on other services. Facebook bought Octazen for an undisclosed sum. Octazen’s contact services can be found in Facebook’s Friend Finder. You have the option of searching your contacts on several email clients as well as on Skype and Aim. Staff from Octazen was also included in the purchase.

04
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April 2, 2010 – Acquires Divvyshot

Divvyshot was a group photo-sharing service that allowed uploaded pictures to automatically appear in the same collection as other photos taken from the same event. Facebook bought Divvyshot for an undisclosed sum and integrated Divvyshot technologies into Facebook Photos so that photos uploaded from the same event can be associated together via event tagging.

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May 13, 2010 – Friendster Patents

One great idea always leads to another and Friendster was one of the early social networking websites that paved the way for Facebook. Facebook bought all of the now defunct social networks patents for $40 million.
06
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May 18, 2010 – Signs 5-year Contract with Zynga

Logo courtesy of Zynga © 2012.
Zynga is a provider of social game services with popular games such as Words with Friends, Scramble with Friends, Draw Something, Farmville, CityVille, and more. Facebook showed their expanded commitment to gaming by entering a 5-year contract with Zynga.
07
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May 26, 2010 – Acquires Sharegrove

Sharegrove was a service that provided private online spaces where family and close friends could share content in real-time. Facebook bought Sharegrove for an undisclosed sum and integrated Sharegrove into Facebook Groups. Facebook friends can share chats, links, and photos privately. Sharegrove’s engineering talent was also important to Facebook’s integration (Facebook Groups launched October 2010).

08
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July 8, 2010 – Acquires Nextstop

Nextstop was a network of user-generated travel recommendations, allowing people to give input on what to do, see, and experience. Facebook bought most of Nextstop’s assets as well as talent for $2.5 million. Nexstop’s technology was used in Facebook Questions, which launched July 2010.

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Aug 15, 2010 – Acquires Chai Labs

Facebook bought Chai Labs, a technology platform that enabled publishers to customize and launch scalable, search-friendly sites in several verticals, for $10 million. Chai Labs technology was integrated with Facebook Pages and Facebook Places, (Facebook Places launched August 2010). But Facebook wanted Chai Labs more so for it’s talented pool of employees rather than the technology platform they had built.

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Aug 23, 2010 – Acquires Hot Potato

Screenshot courtesy of Color © 2010
Hot Potato was a combination of Foursquare and GetGlue. It was a check-in service that allowed users to check in to more than physical locations, like if they are listening to a song or reading a book. Facebook bought Hot Potato for about $10 million and the integration helped expand Facebook by improving the functionality around status updates and the newly launched Facebook Places feature. Facebook also acquired talent from Hot Potato.
11
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Oct 29, 2010 – Acquires Drop.io

Drop.io is a file sharing service where large content can be added through different means such as fax, phone, or direct uploads. Facebook bought Drop.io for about $10 million. But what they really wanted was the talent, mainly co-founder and CEO of Drop.io, Sam Lessin. Lessin is now a Product Manager for Facebook. He graduated from Harvard (where he knew Zuckerberg). The hope is still to use the Drop.io technology to improve the ability to share and store files on Facebook.
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Jan 25, 2011 – Acquires Rel8tion

Rel8tion was a mobile advertising company that synched up a person’s location and demographics with the most relevant ad inventory. Facebook bought Rel8tion for an undisclosed sum and used the technology to improve hyper-local ad targeting and monetize traffic through advertising, which is mainly done through sponsored stories. Rel8tion is also acquired for their talent.

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March 1, 2011 – Acquires Snaptu

Snaptu is a creator of simple mobile applications for smartphones. Facebook spent between $60-70 million to buy Snaptu. Facebook integrated Snaptu into their company for their talent in order to deliver a better, quicker mobile experience on phones.

14
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March 20, 2011 – Acquires Beluga

The Beluga App is a group messaging service that helps people stay in touch using mobile devices. Facebook buys Beluga for an undisclosed sum for both the service and the team. Beluga helps Facebook to expand their group messaging technologies through mobile apps and the resulting Facebook Messenger app launched August 2011.

15
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June 9, 2011 – Acquires Sofa

Facebook buys Sofa, a software company, which created apps like Kaleidoscope, Versions, Checkout, and Ensure, for an undisclosed sum. The Sofa integration is mainly a talent acquisition to boost Facebook’s product design team.

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July 6, 2011 – Facebook Introduces Video Chat in Partnership with Skype

If you can’t beat them or buy them, partner with them. Facebook partnered with Skype to improve video chatting within the social network.

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Aug 2, 2011 – Acquires Push Pop Press

Pop Press is a company that converts physical books into iPad and iPhone-friendly formats. Facebook acquired Push Pop Press for an undisclosed sum with no plans to infiltrate the book business, but hopes to incorporate some of the ideas behind Push Pop Press into the Facebook experience as a whole, giving people richer ways to share their stories. Some of this technology integration can be seen in the October 2011 launch of Facebook’s iPad app.
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Oct 10, 2011 – Acquires Friend.ly

Friend.ly is a social Q&A startup that lets people answer questions within their own social networks. Facebook buys Friend.ly for an undisclosed sum mainly for their talent. Facebook also integrates with Friend.ly in the hopes that it will impact the way that users engage with each other on Facebook through Facebook questions and recommendations.
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Nov 16, 2011 – Acquires MailRank

MailRank is a mail-prioritizing tool that sets up the user’s mail list on a priority basis, placing the most important mail at the top. Purchased for an undisclosed sum, MailRank is integrated into Facebook to assist them in solving technology issues and expand their services on smartphones. MailRank’s co-founders joined the Facebook team as part of the deal.
20
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Dec 2, 2011 – Acquires Gowalla

Gowalla is a social check-in service (and Foursquare competitor). Facebook acquired Gowalla for their talent for an undisclosed sum. The team worked on Facebook’s new Timeline feature that launched in March 2012.

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April 9, 2012 – Acquires Instagram

Facebook’s most expensive purchase to date was photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion. Instagram lets users to take a picture, apply a digital filter, and share it with followers. Facebook is focusing on integrating Instagram’s features into Facebook while also building Instagram independently to provide the best photo experience possible.

22
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April 13, 2012 – Acquires Tagtile

Screenshot courtesy of Tagtile © 2012

Tagtile is a company that provides loyalty rewards and mobile marketing. If a customer walks into a store and taps his phone against the Tagtile cub, he can get discounts or rewards in the future based on those stores he visits. Facebook purchased Tagtile for an undisclosed sum and is taking over substantially all of the start-up's assets, however it appears to be mainly a talent acquisition.

23
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May 5, 2012 – Acquires Glancee

Screenshot courtesy of Glancee © 2012
Glancee is a social discovery platform that tells you when people with similar interests are in the same location as you, which are based on Facebook data. Facebook acquired Glancee for an undisclosed sum mainly as a talent acquisition so that the Glancee team can work on products that help people discover new places and share them with friends. The Glancee technology will help Facebook with unlocking new ways to network on mobile platforms.
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May 15, 2012 – Acquires Lightbox

Screenshot courtesy of Lightbox © 2012
Lightbox is a company that developed a mobile photo sharing Android app designed to replace the camera app by hosting photos in the cloud. Facebook buys Lightbox for an undisclosed sum mainly for their talent, as all seven employees will be moving to Facebook. These new employees will likely help Facebook develop their service on mobile devices.
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May 18, 2012 – Acquires Karma

Karma App
Image Copyright Karma App

Karma is an app that allows people to instantly send gifts to family and friends through their mobile device. The 16 employees of Karma will be joining Facebook and will help Facebook build a monetization prowess on mobile platforms. Facebook purchased Karma for an undisclosed sum and it is undetermined whether Karma will be left alone to run independently or will become a Facebook branded product. Karma could help Facebook suggest real-world gifts to buy for your friends.

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May 24, 2012 – Acquires Bolt

Bolt Peters is a research and design firm specializing in remote usability. Facebook acquires Bolt for an undisclosed sum to acq-hire its talent, who joined Facebook’s design team. Bolt officially closed on June 22, 2012. Bolt could improve Facebook’s design and keep it from shocking users with hated product changes.
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June 11, 2012 – Acquires Pieceable

Pieceable is a company that created an easy way for publishers to build their mobile apps and preview them in a web browser. For an undisclosed sum, Facebook is only acquiring talent and not the company, technology, or customer data. The integration will most likely have the team from Pieceable working on developing Facebook on mobile platforms and bolstering Facebook’s App Center.

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June 18, 2012 – Acquires Face.com

Face.com powers facial recognition software that third-party developers can incorporate freely into their own apps. Facial recognition software of Face.com was purchased for $100 million and will be incorporated into Facebook especially for photo tagging and improving the Facebook mobile app.
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July 7, 2012 – Yahoo and Facebook Cross-License

With Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson gone, the two bury the hatchet and embark on big partnership. Yahoo and Facebook agree to cross-license their entire patent portfolios to each other without money changing hands. The two web giants are entering into an ad sales partnership that will let Yahoo show Like buttons in its ads, and also spread ad placements across both properties.
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July 14, 2012 – Acquires Spool

Logo courtesy of Spool © 2012
Spool is a company that offers free iOS and Android apps that allow users to bookmark web content and view it later offline. Facebook is acquiring Spool for an undisclosed sum mainly for the talent with the intention of expanding their mobile app. Spool’s company/assets is not included in the deal with Facebook.
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July 20, 2012 – Acquires Acrylic Software

Logos courtesy of Acrylic Software © 2012

Acrylic Software is a developer of Mac and iOS apps known for Pulp and Wallet. Facebook is acquiring Acrylic Software for an undisclosed sum mainly for the employees who are moving to work on the design team at Facebook.The combination of the purchase of Spool and Acrylic indicates Facebook wants to build an internal “read it later” service.

32
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February 28, 2013 - Acquires Microsoft’s Atlas Advertiser’s Suite

Microsoft’s Atlas Advertiser’s Suite is an online business and management service. Facebook did not disclose the price of the deal but sources say it was around $100 million. The social network looked to Atlas to help marketers and agencies get a full view of campaign performance and plans to improve Atlas’ capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. Atlas, alongside Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.
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March 9, 2013 – Storylane

Storylane is a relatively young social network focused around telling stories, building a library of human experiences by crafting a community where people can share things that really matter. What interested Facebook was Storylane’s showcase of real identity through sincere and meaningful content. A five-person staff at Storylane will join Facebook’s Timeline team. Facebook will not be getting any of the company’s data or operations as part of the acquisition.

Additional reporting provided by Mallory Harwood and Krista Pirtle