Facebook hires Google exec to lead M&A efforts

Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:21pm EDT
 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook has hired a member of Google Inc's corporate development team to lead its fledgling merger and acquisition efforts, as the world's No. 1 Internet social network shows an increasing appetite for deals.

Amin Zoufonoun, a director of corporate development at Google, will join Facebook next week, the firm told Reuters on Monday.

The move -- the latest development in the rivalry between the two Internet powers -- comes as Facebook steps up its acquisitions, which to date have primarily been small start-ups it has bought for engineering talent rather than actual products.

"I think for sure over time they expect to do bigger and bigger deals," said a source familiar with the matter.

"They've certainly got the stock and cash to do those kinds of things. So I expect them to be more active."

Facebook, which is privately held, recently raised $1.5 billion from investors including Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, as well as through a private offering to overseas investors conducted by Goldman Sachs, at a valuation of roughly $50 billion.

Earlier this month, investment firm General Atlantic bought a stake in Facebook at a $65 billion valuation, according to a report on CNBC.

Zoufonoun, who has worked at Google since 2003, according to a biography on LinkedIn, will report to Facebook's Vaughan Smith, who oversees the company's overall corporate development efforts. But Zoufonoun will become the key person overseeing Facebook's M&A efforts and will be tasked with hiring more people for the M&A team, according to the source, who wished to remain anonymous.

A Facebook spokesperson said that Zoufonoun's will join Facebook as director, corporate development, but declined to provide further comment. Google had no immediate comment.   Continued...

 
<p>The Facebook logo is shown at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>