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Google director of corporate dev. Amin Zoufonoun will help spearhead 2011 M&As for Facebook
Facebook has been quite the hot topic in the latest several days. Not only is the social giant now getting into daily deals Groupon-style, but reports emerged Monday afternoon that yet another Googler has left the herd to join Facebook.
Facebook has confirmed rumors that Google director of corporate development Amin Zoufonoun has moved to Facebook, where he will report to FB director of corporate development Vaghan Smith. His role will largely center around M&As as Facebook fulfills its promise to ramp up its acquisitions this year. The company acquired ten companies last year and plans to "double-ish" its volume of transactions in 2011, Vaughan told Inside Facebook in November 2010.
Vaughan also noted that with its headcount around 1,700 now, Facebook will likely hire larger teams this year. Companies with as many as 20-30 people could be snapped up by the social networking titan, which is currently interested in mobile, location and payment services, said Vaughan.
While Facebook has long maintained that it doesn't acquire companies, it acquires people, this year could signal a shift towards more product-oriented acquisitions. Notably, the company acquired the mobile messaging service Beluga last week and has said that it does plan to use the service. The Web has also been crawling with rumors that Facebook could be interested in acquiring Twitter.
Zoufonoun, who joined Google in 2003, has his fair share of experience with M&A deals. In his position as director of corporate development, Zoufonoun was "mainly focused on strategy and deal execution, including evaluation, negotiating and executing Google's mergers, acquisitions and investments," according to his LinkedIn profile. He was directly involved in a number of acquisitions, including On2, Grandcentral (which is now Google Voice), Feedburner, MetaWeb, Widevine, Simplify Media, and more. He was also an inventor on several Google patent filings.
Prior to moving to Google, Zoufonoun was the director of intellectual property and corprate counsel at ArrayComm LLC. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University and a JD from Santa Clara's School of Law.
So what kind of startups might Zoufonoun look to acquire for Facebook? At June 2010 meeting of M&A execs at the Kelly Porter mansion in Los Altos Hills, California, Zoufonoun noted that he's drawn toward three main traits when considering an acquisition: a proven product and team, an uncertain big bet, or market and tech leadership. He also noted that music is overhyper and mobile user interfaces are underhyped.
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