Caroline McCarthy
CNet News
March 8, 2008

If Digg fiddled with ratings and stats of politically incorrect stories before, they really will do so in earnest once Microsoft or Google are at the helm.  

If every blog rumor were to be believed, social news site Digg would have been bought a dozen times over by now, so take the latest one with the requisite grain of salt.

TechCrunch reported early on Friday that four companies are in the running to place bids on Digg–Microsoft, Google, and two unidentified "media companies"–and that a sale may happen soon. It’ll likely be less than the $300 million that Digg was once rumored to go for; TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington cited sources who said that Google is prepared to bid $200 million to $225 million and that Microsoft, which currently serves ads on Digg, is aiming slightly lower. That’s a good bit less than the $300 valuation that was floating around when Digg reportedly hired investment bank Allen & Co. to shop it around.

As for the media companies, no specifics are given, but keep in mind that Digg has deals with several traditional media companies’ online arms, like CBS and News Corp.

In an interview several weeks ago, Digg founder Kevin Rose told CNET that he thought selling the company to a big buyer could get in the way of running it efficiently.

One TechCrunch commenter noted, "Good for them, but Diggers will complain either way," referring to the site’s active and opinionated crowd of regular users. "There’s no pleasing them."

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