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Should You Take the Money and Run?

How many times have we seen companies get offer millions or even billions of dollars, then either walked away from the offer, or gladly accepted it? Time and time again we see founders and CEOs make the huge decision to risk the odds and try to grow their company to something amazing, or take the money and run. One of the best examples that comes to mind is Marc Cuban, who sold his Broadcast.com company to Yahoo in 1998 for $5.9 billion in stock. After the sale Cuban diversified his money to avoid the coming market crash, and is now the owner of the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, and worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

That’s a great example of someone taking the money and running and everything working out for the best. All too often it never works out that well. Let’s take a look at three well known web sites, their founders and their decisions on whether they should take the money and run.

MySpace.com / News Corp

Everyone remembers MySpace, but no one dares to waste time with it today. What was once one of the top web sites on the internet, MySpace introduced the world to the importance of social networking and having “friends” online. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp company acquired MySpace for a cool $580 million dollars, which many called an early exit by the founders of MySpace. Two years later in 2007, MySpace was offered an insane $12 billion dollars in stock from Yahoo, which Murdoch then turned down. Fast forward to present day and MySpace.com was sold for a lowly $35 million to an investment group by News Corp. In the end, that’s a $580 million dollar investment, with the lost opportunity at $12 billion dollars, then a kick in the pants at the end when Rupert lost his initial investment and walked away with a sad $35 million. The founders of MySpace walked away the winners in this one!

Twitter / Google

One of these days Twitter will have a business plan and start making money, right? Well, that doesn’t seem to matter, as they are still getting offers to acquire the company. In 2010, Twitter turned down an offer from Google for $10 billion to acquire the company. Twitter is currently now valued at $8.4 billion, but the continuing problems with their business model may put a damper on their overall evaluation and future bids for the company. While Twitter continues to grow in size, so does the competition against Facebook and Google+.

Groupon / Google

Google loves going after new companies and start-ups that are gaining everyone’s attention. This time they went after the daily deals site Groupon, with a $6 billion dollar offer that was refused! (2010) Instead of jumping at the idea of being an instant billionaire, Groupon founder Andrew Mason is taking his chances with the company and looking to launch their own IPO and go public. Since the initial bid for Groupon by Google, the daily deals industry has had it’s ups and downs on the real valuation of these companies and how effective the companies using daily deals are really benefiting.

Facebook / Microsoft

The largest social network in the world is still grabbing everyone attention. Now with a valuation of nearly $50 billion dollars, and with a real business model, Facebook is still being sought after by many of the world’s largest internet companies. Microsoft DID invest in Facebook at the level of a $15 billion dollar valuation, but they were not able to acquire the company, like many have tried. Mark Zuckerberg is still in control at Facebook, while the world awaits any future take over and IPO announcements.

I’ve personally had the option to sell one of my web site for a seven figure payday, but decided not to, as I didn’t like the overall structure of the business agreement, nor the company I would be partnered with. As easily as it is for so many people to say “What an idiot, take the money!“, in so many of these situations, that’s why we are entrepreneurs. We know business and we take risks. Entreprenuer has a great article on the founder of GiftZip.com, and the thought process he went through when he decided to sell his start up.

If you owned any of the web sites above, would you have taken the money and run… or continue to build out your company and potential networth?

About the Author Zac Johnson

My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.

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Scott says

I would run with the money if I knew the time was right. I would not run with the money if I was in the position facebook was in. I think all depends on the situation at hand.
My recent post Goal In mind

    Zac Johnson says

    Definitely. Lots of times the money offered is based on evaluation, then the real value swings heavily afterwards.

goa carnival says

Hi,

From my point of view everyone wants to make money in huge but for this we should wait for right time.
My recent post Goa Carnival 2012

StocksonWallStreet says

Always take the money and run. It's the best deal.

    Zac Johnson says

    Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered. Always good to leave with a profit.

blackberry developer says

Good point. Sometimes it's better to reject a good offer and continue growing which will bring you even more profit.

Mate Hegedus says

If I was the founder of MySpace, I probably would have not sold it.

Twitter, I wouldn't sell because it really is worth far more than $10bn

Groupon, I would have sold without hesitation. I personally do not think it is worth $6bn.

Facebook, for $50bn I would sell just about anything. You can live like a king for the rest of your days.
My recent post A Very Clever Way To Increase CTR

Investment Insight says

Obviously, timing is everything here. It's a gamble. Do you get off the ride at the top, or try to push it even further? The answer is going to be different for everyone.
My recent post Easy to Establish Retirement Plans for Small Businesses

kenster says

People always point out that crazy Myspace offer that Murdoch turned down. It's amazing how fast things change online and how a company can increase OR DECREASE in value extremely quickly
My recent post Pick Your Poison: CPA Marketing

Roxanne says

Starting, building and growing a website needs a lot of time and devotion… Selling your "baby" must not be easy even if there is a lot money on the table. I think some of these guys much prefer and enjoy running there business website instead of selling it, cashing the money an retired with nothing else to do….
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Dan Thorley says

Zac, I love your earlier comment.;

"Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered. Always good to leave with a profit".

We see it all the time when entrepreneurs have a valuation on their company that is a mile a way from true value. There again, I guess if you have put so much of your own time and money into a business you can be forgiven for inflating the asking price.
My recent post Another way to make money from writing … turn old xmas cards into cash!

Joe says

All these Great minds where looking for their happiness and they were able to explote because they took action on the lives and started programming their projects, Great example Facebook!.
My recent post Home of Shutters

Soniya says

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