CLARIFICATION: This post was published Aug. 20th at 1am
I heard from an employee close to the deal that the Mormon church’s genealogy business made an unsolicited bid to acquire Facebook.
The Mormon Church maintains the largest genealogical database in the United States and apparently has the cash reserves necessary to make an offer of the magnitude necessary to acquire Facebook.
According to a 1997 Time Magazine Report, the Church of Latter Day Saints’ assets exceeded $30 Billion in 1996, and three years later was reported to be making over $5 Billion in revenue each year.
The Church is no stranger to the technology world, and in the 1980’s even created the first standard for exchange of genealogical information, Genealogy Data COMmunications, or GEDCOM for short.
The sheer depth and breadth of the Church’s genealogical information is staggering - the specter of pairing it with one of the most detailed, accurate, and widespread social maps in existence (Facebook) is truly terrifying.
How much did they offer? Well, according the the latest executive stock sale rumors, Facebook may actually be valued at around $5-8 Billion – so we can only assume that the Church made an offer somewhere north of the $5 Billion mark.
My question is – will they roll their own private label version? Mormonbook anyone?
UPDATE (2:04 am): My inquiry a couple of hours ago to an old college friend who works for one of the interested parties has indicated that there is more at play here than meets the eye, and definitely more than just a kernel of truth to this rumor.
UPDATE (3:09 pm): The Church reached out to me this afternoon. This is the official word from their Public Affairs Spokesperson, Lyman Kirkland:
You can quote this statement:
“This rumor has no foundation whatsoever.”
A source who was in contact with the LDS Los Angeles office passed on this note to me: “…no one in Salt Lake is providing our LA office with any information about the issue at this point.”
UPDATE (5:49 pm): As of 5:49pm this afternoon, the LDS website is down.