Google tried to sell itself to Excite for a million dollars. Excite rejected the offer. Excite, one of the original Internet portals. This story has been circulated for a while, but not many people know about it. Google was willing to sell for under a million dollars, but Excite didn’t want to buy them.
Vinod Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures, who was also a partner at Kleiner Perkins (which ended up backing Google) at the time, said he had “a lot of interesting discussions” with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at the time (early 1999). The story goes that after Excite CEO George Bell rejected Page and Brin’s $1 million price for Google, Khosla talked the duo down to $750,000. But Bell still rejected that.
Excite, meanwhile, was acquired by Ask Jeeves in 2004. That company became Ask.com, and now it’s owned by Barry Diller’s IAC. As Diller stated at Disrupt.