Facebook and Google are among the companies circling Twitter and considering a colossal buyout deal, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. The talks haven't gone anywhere yet, but the price under discussion is somewhere between $8 billion and $10 billion—roughly 100 times the amount of revenue Twitter, which lost money last year as it invested in expansion, expects to earn this year.
The rumored price tag is more than double the $3.7 billion Twitter was valued at in December. High valuations for tech sites have spurred sites including LinkedIn and Groupon—which recently rebuffed a $6 billion offer from Google—to plan public offerings for this year. "Are these prices justifiable based on financial multiples? No," says a venture capital analyst. But the sites are building social networks and have plenty of data on their users, and "the market is valuing that mightily right now."