It's real and was just confirmed. It's a stock transaction that will close in Q4 and will enable YouTube to operate independently. See below for the full text of the release.
Google To Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion in Stock
Combination Will Create New Opportunities for Users and Content Owners Everywhere
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., October 9, 2006 - Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has agreed to acquire YouTube, the consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos through a Web experience, for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction. Following the acquisition, YouTube will operate independently to preserve its successful brand and passionate community.
The acquisition combines one of the largest and fastest growing online video entertainment communities with Google's expertise in organizing information and creating new models for advertising on the Internet. The combined companies will focus on providing a better, more comprehensive experience for users interested in uploading, watching and sharing videos, and will offer new opportunities for professional content owners to distribute their work to reach a vast new audience.
"The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google. “Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.”
“Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people consume media, creating a new clip culture. By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners,” said Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube. “I'm confident that with this partnership we'll have the flexibility and resources needed to pursue our goal of building the next-generation platform for serving media worldwide.”
When the acquisition is complete, YouTube will retain its distinct brand identity, strengthening and complementing Google's own fast-growing video business. YouTube will continue to be based in San Bruno, CA, and all YouTube employees will remain with the company. With Google's technology, advertiser relationships and global reach, YouTube will continue to build on its success as one of the world's most popular services for video entertainment.
The number of Google shares to be issued in the transaction will be determined based on the 30-day average closing price two trading days prior to the completion of the acquisition. Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Webcast and Conference Call Information
The company will host a conference call and webcast at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time) today to discuss the acquisition. To access the conference call, please dial 800-289-0572 domestic and 913-981-5543 internationally. A replay of the call will be available until midnight Monday, October 16 at 888-203-1112 domestically and 719-457-0820 internationally. Confirmation code for the replay is 2260624.
A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available at http://investor.google.com/webcast.html.
Postscript: I've posted some quotes and thoughts from the conference call on my blog as well as links to other commentaries.