What can a billion dollars buy you? A photo sharing service with over 30 million users. Or, these things.
The Yellow Pages: $950 Million
AT&T is selling its majority stake in the Yellow Pages to Cerberus Capital for $950 million. Surprise, the phone book business isn't what it used to be, with revenue dropping 30 percent in two years, reports BusinessWeek. Still, it's kind of amazing that the Yellow Pages — the Yellow Pages! — which prints actual books that are delivered to millions of doorsteps, fetches a lower price than a network on which people share vintage-tinged photos of their local, organic brunch. But maybe even more amazing is that in a time when the Encylopedia Brittannica is no longer going to be printed, AT&T was still able to fetch nearly a billion dollars for its share of the Yellow Pages.
800 AOL Patents: $1 billion
Microsoft paid $1 billion to AOL for a big basket of 800 patents. Inside are "technology rights from AOL's current and former businesses, ranging from Netscape, ICQ and MapQuest to CompuServe, Advertising.com and others," according to Reuters. Cnet soberly explains why Microsoft wanted these patents. (WORLD WAR PATENT.) But it's a lot more fun to say that Microsoft paid a billion dollars for Netscape.
For some reason I think feel like, in my heart of hearts, that Facebook actually got the best deal. But that might be the bubble lodged in there talking.