Web chat startup Meebo has been working with investment bank Montgomery & Co. for the last few months to either find a buyer or raise a big new round of financing. The rumor was they were looking for a $250 million valuation.
A couple of sources have told us that eBay, Fox/MySpace and AOL all took a long look at the company, but ultimately passed based on the price and the fact that the company has done aggregate revenues since launching of only $1 million or so.
So instead of selling, Meebo is closing a financing round valuing the company at $175 – $200 million. The company wants strategic investors as well as the inevitable private equity funds that would be willing to pay this kind of valuation (traditional VCs won’t touch a deal like this). The rumor is that Fox and/or AOL may be investing in the round.
Meebo’s big selling point is the success of Meebo Rooms, which essentially turns chat rooms into a web service. Also, Facebook just jumped into the chat space; other social networks can quickly add the feature via a partnership with Meebo.
The deal has not yet closed, according to our sources, although we hear Meebo has a big announcement scheduled for Thursday morning, Our guess is that it isn’t the financing, but we’ll see.