Facebook held up Microsoft Corp. [MSFT] for $240 million in funding, then tapped Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing for another $60 million. Now, it has turned to three German entrepreneurs for more money, according to TechCrunch. The Samwer brothers, Alexander, Marc and Oliver, have reportedly invested in Facebook, though terms of the investment are unknown.
What is known is that the Samwer brothers are filthy rich after selling German auction site Alando.de AG to eBay [EBAY] in 1999 for $43 million, wireless ringtone and mobile games maker Jamba AG to VeriSign [VRSN] in 2004 for $273 million and Germany's answer to Facebook, StudiVZ, in 2006 for $100 million to Holtzbrinck LLC (now Macmillan Publishers).
Facebook needs the funds to better compete with its rivals while it tries to find the best way to live up to its insanely high $15 billion valuation, meaning make money from its sizable user base. It also needs some cash if it wants to make acquisitionsk, with the latest rumors linking it to business social networking firm Plaxo Inc. With CEO Mark Zuckerberg telling 60 Minutes this week that a 2008 IPO is unlikely, Facebook will need to make all the friends it possibly can. - David Shabelman