News Brief

Microsoft Opens Checkbook For Facebook, Deal Values Network At $15 Billion

Microsoft on Wednesday said it is investing $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook--a deal that values the hot social network at a staggering $15 billion. Beating out Google, Microsoft also won exclusive global rights to sell third-party banner ads on Facebook. Microsoft has had an agreement to sell ads on Facebook in the U.S. since August of last year. Expanding the deal internationally was seen as critical because 60% of Facebook's nearly 50 million registered users are abroad. Microsoft believes that user base is on track to exceed 200 million and eventually 300 million members, said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, during a conference call Wednesday. -- Gavin O'Malley