After the New York Post reported that Google would buy Napster, a Google spokesperson denied any such plans. Looks like someone's trying to float a rumor and sell their stock. Meanwhile, Technorati's looking to sell its search tools, Six Apart might stay solo, and Digg.com is fighting lucrative sale rumors.
Time to predict who sells first. We'll pick our top three favorites to win the race to flip (and show you some other flip-ready companies).
Then you pick three of the companies below and e-mail them, in the order you think they'll sell, to email@example.com with the subject "Flip trifecta." The contestant whose top three picks sell first, in the order they choose, wins a prize. In the case of a tie, the winner's chosen randomly.
Flip Trifecta: the race to sell out
2. Newsvine: The citizen-journalism-slash-real-journalism site hasn't even publicly launched, but it's already earning accolades from beta users. Already fresh, but still ripe, this would make a trendy purchase for Yahoo.
4. Odeo: A natural acquisition. None of the portals have a good podcast play. And it's not taking off all by itself. Biz Stone just left Google to work at this startup; could he find himself back on campus?
5. Riya: The facial recognition software is a perfect technology to complement Flickr. On one round of funding, Riya has already developed smart recognition algorithms — for example, it recognizes founder Tara Hunt. But one search giant already took a look at Riya and passed.
6. Six Apart: The blog platform developer is suffering downtime as it struggles to handle a growing user base. Would anyone buy a company that's a mishmash of publishing software, hosting services and a free community site? Or will Six Apart patch itself up and run solo?
7. Technorati: CEO Dave Sifry told the Red Herring two years ago to "watch this space" for the blog tracker's exit strategy. This year, BusinessWeek predicts a flip to Microsoft. But in those two years, Technorati's piled on a lot of VC funding. Will its investors force it to take a lowball offer?
8. Napster: Not selling any time soon, and definitely not to Google. This sucker's losing money fast.