Does Facebook Want to Place Your Face? Buyout Eyed

Facial recognition
Facial recognition

Facebook (FB) has been a bit of a shutterbug lately, and its latest snapshot may be to acquire face-recognition specialist

Reports began to surface on Monday indicating that Facebook was looking to get over its post-IPO blues by snapping up the Israeli-based company that matches faces in digital photographs to the names of existing friends.

Some of the reports indicate that the rumored price tag would be nearly $100 million, a sum that would be small potatoes for a loaded Facebook that recently agreed to shell out $1 billion for photo-sharing speedster Instagram.

Smile for the Camera

The leading social networking website operator has been playing up its eye candy side lately. Last month's move to acquire Instagram turned heads, especially since reports indicate that it was entirely Mark Zuckerberg's idea.

Facebook rolled out its own dedicated photo-sharing app last week. The free Facebook Camera application for smartphones makes it easier to upload and view pictures on Facebook.

Sharing digital photographs has always been a big part of the social networking experience. Anyone who has seen the partly fictionalized The Social Network movie will know that the programming project that got Zuckerberg noticed at Harvard before Facebook was a photo-centric site where visitors voted on one of two student pictures. And, yes, the Facemash incident really did happen.

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Time to the Music

In an interesting twist, Russian newspaper Vedomosti is reporting that Facebook may try to buy by going through Yandex (YNDX).

Yandex -- Russia's leading search engine -- teamed up with an investment fund to acquire an 18.4% stake in the photo-recognition specialist two years ago.

The report indicates that Yandex would be willing to accept a combination of cash and the now-depressed Facebook stock to sell its minority stake in the company, making it easier for Zuckerberg to grab the rest of the company.

Rumor Has It

The deal makes perfect sense, but don't be shocked if it doesn't pan out. Now that Facebook is flush with IPO cash, you can expect a lot of bogus rumors to tie the social networking behemoth with more than 900 million users to a lot of potential buyouts.

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Chatter happens, and it's going to be easy to tie Facebook to just about any tech acquisition. Now that Facebook's stock is trading comfortably below this month's $38 IPO price, it's easy to picture a desperate company trying to buy its way back to investing credibility.

Giving its recent history, it's easy to picture a deal that has something to do with pictures.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook.

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