Facebook set for two further start-up acquisitions

Facebook’s disappointing debut on the Nasdaq doesn’t appear to have dampened the company’s spirits, with reports circulating the social media giant is about to make two more acquisitions.


Facebook has lost about $35 billion in value since its initial public offering, with shares dipping below $29, but the company’s appetite for start-ups remains unquenched.


Fresh off its first day on the Nasdaq, Facebook acquired one-year-old San Francisco start-up Karma, which allows users to send gifts to their friends from their smartphones.


Now it’s been reported Facebook is looking to acquire Israeli company Face.com, which provides facial recognition technology, and Norwegian company Opera.


Opera makes various Web browsers that work across an array of platforms including mobile phones, tablets, PCs and televisions.


The software is available on most phones, including Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, and works on various operating systems including Google’s Android.


Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the company has more than 700 employees across 11 offices. It also has more than 270 million users worldwide.


Both Opera and Facebook have declined to comment on the acquisition reports, although it’s been suggested Facebook could cough up more than $1 billion for Opera.


However, Facebook is not the only company in the running. Arch enemy Google, in addition to Russia-based company Yandix, are reportedly interested in Opera as well.


Opera chief executive Lars Boilesen said last year he would “love” to co-operate further with Facebook.


“We are already Facebook’s platform of distribution in emerging markets like Africa and India,” he said.


“A big part of the Opera Mini traffic is from Facebook. So we are already their channel in these markets.”


“We would love to co-operate with Facebook, but the same goes for Google and everyone else. There are no limits here, because we are the leading mobile client in these markets.”


Meanwhile, Facebook is “definitely” acquiring Face.com – for $100 million – according to TechCrunch sources.


Founded in 2007, Face.com has developed a platform for efficient and accurate facial recognition in photos uploaded via web and mobile applications.


Face.com apps and API services scan billions of photos monthly, and tag faces in these photos. As of February 2011, the company had “discovered” 18 billion faces.


It has already developed and released two Facebook applications: Photo Finder and Photo Tagger.


Photo Finder allows users to find untagged pictures of themselves, as well as friends on Facebook, and then tag those photos.


Photo Tagger enables bulk-tagging of faces that appear in multiple photos uploaded to the Facebook website.


With offices in Tel Aviv and New York, Face.com has 10 full-time employees.


But despite reports pointing to an acquisition, Face.com chief executive has told TechCrunch he has “nothing to announce”.


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