Dan Primack

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

Nothing shocking: Google overpaid for another startup

February 4, 2011: 1:02 PM ET

Earlier this week I wrote that Google (GOOG) had lost its mind, in reference to its $100 million acquisition offer for photo-sharing startup Path. Just more evidence that the tech bubble has expanded beyond irrational exuberance and into indulgent ridiculousness.

Path rejected Google's exorbitant advance, just as Groupon had done late last year. But not all companies have so cavalierly looked Google's gift horse in the mouth.

Late last year, the search giant announced that it had acquired WideVine Technologies, a Seattle-based provider of online video optimization and digital rights management. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a WideVine investor that the purchase price was $150 million.

"Google came in on December 1, offered to buy the company for $150 million [in cash] and said the deal would have to close by year-end," said the investor. "We were thrilled, because management only was valuing the company at between $30 or $40 million at the time. I think Google got a great asset, but almost certainly could have gotten it for less. There were never any other offers, including from the company's strategic investors."

Those strategic backers included Cisco, Dai Nippon Printing, Liberty Global, Macrovision, Samsung and Sony. But, again, not one of them stepped up with a rival bid (or an earlier bid before Google showed up).

Overall, WideVine had raised $45 million in VC funding since a 2003 recap, from the aforementioned firms and venture capital shops like VantagePoint Venture Partners, Charter Venture Capital, Constellation Ventures, Pacesetter Capital Group and Telus Ventures.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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