All the buzz around video site YouTube indicates that the closely-held company could have a market value of around $1 billion.
Given those numbers, it is only natural to crystal-ball YouTube's future: private, IPO, acquired, acquirer?
To me, there are only six candidates with the business model and deep pockets to buy YouTube whole. Let me count down these five, in order of suitability:
6- Adobe- This would be a stretch, but Adobe does make the Flash format that YouTube employs for most of their videos. Such a purchase would be a fantastic promotional platform for Flash, as well as Adobe's suite of video editing tools.
5- Time Warner- AOL would be a great distribution platform, and YouTube videos could be integrated with other AOL content properties.
4- Sony-They are the premier company in the content distribution AND the video hardware space. Oh, and as does Time Warner, they also own a movie studio. Think of MySpace contests,with the winner getting short film rights.
3- Google- Google's videos are receiving signficant promotion, and the addition of YouTube would help there as well. Also, consider what the integration of Google's search utilities and YouTube content could offer.
2- NewsCorp.- I think of YouTube and MySpace as natural allies to add a video dimension to the world's top social networking site. NewsCorp and Fox also have significant cross-platform media distribution as well.
But if I were YouTube and had offers from all of the companies I mentioned, here is the one that would make the most sense:
1- Yahoo!- One word. Flickr. They already have the blue-chip photo sharing site. I have to think many, if not most Flickr-posters have a digital camcorder as well. So why not? And Yahoo!., you could syndicate YouTube content as well!
Also-rans: Viacom, Microsoft, Apple.
But I still think Yahoo! would be the most logical acquirer.
What do you think?