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Microsoft beats Google, takes $240 million stake in Facebook

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Redmond, Wash.—Beating out Google, Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday afternoon announced that it will take a $240 million stake in Facebook’s next round of financing. The two Internet giants were frontrunners among suitors hungry for a piece of the popular social networking site.

Microsoft will be the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook, which has almost 50 million registered users. Last August, the companies announced an alliance that made Microsoft the exclusive provider of standard banner ads on Facebook.

“The opportunity to further collaborate as advertising partners is a big reason we have decided to take an equity stake and is a strong statement of our confidence in the long-term economics of this partnership,” said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division, in a news release.

Facebook was the ninth-most-visited Web site in the U.S. for the week ended Oct. 20, according to Hitwise.

—Carol Krol

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