Tomorrow, Facebook is expected to launch its public stock offering in an event that could be one of the biggest such IPO launches in recent memory. There are estimates that Facebook could be worth as much as $104 billion when the IPO starts.
All of that money could mean a nice return on investment for Microsoft. The Seattle Times reports that, because Microsoft owns 1.8 percent of Facebook, Microsoft's share of the company could be up to $1.6 billion. Microsoft spent $240 million to buy a piece of Facebook back in 2007, which was a relatively small investment. By contrast, the company spent $8.5 billion to acquire Skype a year ago.
Microsoft has already announced it plans to offer 6.6 million of its Facebook shares as part of the company's IPO launch. That means Microsoft could make as much as $250 million immediately from the IPO, paying off their investment with a slight profit right from the start.
The article also points out that Microsoft and Facebook have already had some other financial dealings. One of them happened just a few weeks ago when Microsoft sold 650 patents it had acquired from AOL to Facebook for $550 million. That helped Microsoft get back about half of what it paid AOL for those patents.