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The email I received from Google in 2007 when they wanted to buy Zlio!

Little funny story:

In March 2007, we signed a term sheet with Mangrove who wanted to invest in Zlio..A few days after, I met a Google Executive who decided to buy the company.

I just found in my site, the email I received from it. Please see it below. As you can see, I received this email before I signed an NDA. That’s why I’m putting it here ;-). Finally, Google needed more than 1 month to close the deal. After waiting for it 30 days, we decided to accept the Mangrove investment proposal.

For the little story, Zlio, became blacklisted/sandboxed by Google 6 months after…. It killed the company…

Do you think I regret it ? Clearly not ! See why here 😉

PS: You can follow me on Twitter

Email received from A.H. on March 22, 2007.


Thanks for this.  I have had internal conversations now. We would like to move on this urgently as an acquisition. We realise you are late in your cycle and we are early in ours but frankly your idea and personal background is a good indication of strength in our mind and we have already got the internal senior nod to proceed. Add to this the fact that we share your vision and would want to execute on something similar anyway means we would like to move forward discussing with you. We believe the combination of your vision, leadership and first mover advantage with our ability to create Googlely products, our consumer and partner relationships and distribution, our checkout product and our scale infrastructure will lead to a great solution that enables you as an entrepreneur to reach your goals more efficiently. We have a pretty smooth acquisition process here at Google to make deals happen but here is how you can help us be quick:

1) sign the nda so we can start to exchange info – this is our standard nda. You should realise that we make absolutely sure that no engineers working on similar areas in Google are involved in the assessment of this deal at this stage so we can avoid tainting
2) send me captable (with names) and loan/liabilities info (Jerry tells me there are some complexities around ownership?), CVs of your team (we are especially keen on good engineering and prod people and in Israel we are already building out our team. You can delete the names on the top of the CVs if you want to protect anonymity)
3) consider location – Israel is great for your prd and eng people but relationship, partnership and business team may have to relocate to UK or US but we do have a Paris office that may be expanded – I just cant guarantee that right now.
4) consider valuation – if we are to act as quickly as you want we need strong guidance. You can give me a range and I will respond. You have indications of value from your VC termsheet and I can tell you that we will give strong monetary incentives to the people who join us in terms of bonuses etc on top of consideration for the equity of the company. Naturally, we believe we take away the risk of successful execution through an acquisition so value of the equity should reflect this.
5) send me financials
6) send me IPR/patent details
7) send me something that describes how difficult this is to do from an engineering challenge and arrange a conference call between your lead engineer and one of our deal team engineer members to have a discussion around this

I will take all this and the corporate presentation you have given me and create a presentation for internal use to our executive board (Larry, Sergey and Eric) for approval to negotiate then issue a termsheet to you

We will want to do some DD post then just like a VC, normally we front end some of this via a visit to meet you and the team but in the interests of time we can back end this but you need to be helpful with the 7 points above instead.

I hope this is exciting news for you as it is for us….

Let me know and also pls send me your mobile phone as it is not on your business card

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  1. RV RV

    In the end,whatever happens is neither right or wrong,good or bad, just depends on how you take it.
    What may seem ‘good’ ,which normally is always determined with a short term perspective, may turn out to be bad in the long term(eg some lotterwinners lose out everything in the long run).
    same is the case vice-versa

  2. The conclusion is that Google can find any good/sensitive information about any company and then decide whether to buy it or just build it themselves…

  3. Marius Marius

    I have to say, if I got an email from Google, I would hope they used some proper English.
    “pls” instead of “please” on a business proposal just sounds half-arsed (and that’s coming from someone with English as a secondary language).

  4. Your actions clearly contradict with your belief to the idea “Always be positive, Good things will come along”. You clearly have never let this go and always been angry about this. Otherwise I do not see any logical reason why you would post this article. To me this article’s purpose seems nothing other than a cheap try to damage Google’s reputation. I am a strong believer of always being positive and believing that better things will always come along BUT that’s only viable when you truly and sincerely make piece with the past and look positively towards future.

  5. Jeremie Berrebi Jeremie Berrebi

    I posted it because I really think it’s an interesting email. I have very good relationships with Google today and sold them another company 2 years ago (Sparrow).
    Nothing is negative in this email.

    PS: This post was read 35000 times in the last 4 hours.

  6. It definitely IS an interesting read. If you posted it from “How Google approaches to companies they want to acquire” it would have made much more sense. 🙂 Well maybe it is just me but I can definitely feel a hint of anger in this post. Anyhow, past is past and I am happy to hear about your success with Sparrow. Good luck with future projects.

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