While Facebook is now one of the world’s most valuable companies, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recalled a traumatic time when his entire management team lost faith in his vision for the social media site.
In an interview with Y Combinator president Sam Altman shared this week, Zuckerberg revealed: “One of the hardest parts for me was when Yahoo offered to buy the company for a lot of money,” adding: “That was the turning point in the company.”
Yahoo offered $1 billion for the company in 2006, when Facebook was a two-year-old site with 10 million users. Zuckerberg and co-founder Dustin Moskovitz chose to reject the offer in order to maintain their own control over the company’s direction.
However, as a result, “huge amounts of the company quit because they didn’t believe in what we were doing.” He called that dramatic change, not turning down Yahoo’s offer, “the part that was painful”.
Yahoo’s fortunes have fallen hugely since then. Last month, its core Internet business was sold to major US telecoms firm Verizon for $4.83 billion. That deal, upon its completion expected to come next year, will leave Yahoo as a holding company for its significant stakes in Chinese and Japanese web businesses.