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Facebook may consider bids from Microsoft and Google

In what will determine Facebook’s value and future, Google and Microsoft have made a bid to buy 5 percent of the social-network site to boost their advertising and awareness. The value of Facebook could rise to $15 billion and is the second most popular social site in the world.

Facebook will consider both bids from the two corporate giants for a minority stake in its Web site. The talks are private, but a source who wants to remain anonymous said the deal could be made by Friday.

Microsoft and Google are seeking advertising revenue from the social-networking site to expand their ad partnerships internationally with Facebook. The Web site has valuable user data which could allow advertisers to target consumers.

Social-networking sites provide tools that allow Internet users to exchange e-mail messages, live chat, bookmarks of popular news or blogs, create profiles and share photos.

EMarketer Inc., a market research company in New York, says that advertising spending on social sites such as MySpace and Facebook may triple to $3.6 billion by 2011.

Google owns the top Internet search engine in the world and has over 74 million visitors per month. It will be important for Microsoft to maintain a good relationship with Google if both companies have equal shares in Facebook.