Facebook Inc (FB) Acquires Social Discussion Startup Branch Media

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) continues the trend of acquiring startup, and this time its NYC-based social startup Branch Media. The financial details of the deal have not been made public, but a report from The Verge has given a price tag at “around $15 million.” The startup, which comprises of 10-person team, would not have to relocate as the team will form a new Conversations group, which will be responsible for creating Branch “at Facebook scale.”

A statement from the branch Chief Executive Josh Miller says “After two years building Branch and Potluck, I am thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our mission at Facebook!”

Acqui-hire not an acquisition

A report from TheNextWeb citing a source close to the deal says that the deal is not a full acquisition, but an acqui-hire, which means Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), acquired only the talent, not the technology.

Branch Media includes two services; Branch, which is a platform for hosting and publishing invite-only conversations, and Potluck, which is a Web and mobile app allowing friends to chat about cool things they find online. Both the services are expected to operate outside of Facebook, but the duration is not certain.

Investors list of Branch Media include Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman’s Obvious Corp, Jonah Peretti and Lerer Ventures, John Borthwick’s Betaworks, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, and an angel investors, whose identity remain undisclosed.

Miller now bullish on Facebook

The sale to Facebook marks a complete change in tone for Mr. Miller. A year earlier, Miller tagged the social networker as “an irreversibly bad brand,” citing losing interest of teens, in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Since then, the shares of the social networker have gained significantly owing to the increased focus on mobile advertising, which has helped the company to post a better third-quarter profit.

However, in December, Mr. Miller was again bullish on Facebook reflecting the increasing size and overall density of the social networker.

Presently, Facebook is working more towards real-time public conversations, a segment dominated by rival Twitter. In June, the social networker announced hashtags, which groups all posts that are marked by “#.”