Microsoft Corp is talking to Facebook about buying a minority stake in the fast-growing online social network that could value the company at $10 billion or more, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Monday. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the world's largest software company sought to buy a stake of up to 5 percent in Facebook for $300 million to $500 million.
Facebook, led by its 23-year-old founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, may insist on a valuation as high as $15 billion and is considering raising up to $500 million in cash to expand its operations, according to the Journal. Such a deal could help Microsoft better compete against Web search leader Google Inc for a growing base of online advertising and put one of the Internet's hottest names firmly in Microsoft's camp. Google has also expressed an interest in investing in Facebook, the Journal report said.