We tried to buy Facebook for just $24 billion, says ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer: Microsoft tried to buy Facebook
Steve Ballmer: Microsoft tried to buy Facebook

Tech billionaire Steve Ballmer told CNBC on Friday that when he was CEO of Microsoft he approached Mark Zuckerberg about buying Facebook.

Ballmer said on "Squawk Box" he recalled the offer being "$24 billion, when the company was itsy bitsy."

At the time, Zuckerberg said no, Ballmer said. "I respect that." He added, "You have to have a willing seller."

Zuckerberg's decision to pass certainly worked work well for him.

Facebook has a current market value of around $374 billion. And according to Forbes, Zuckerberg is the fourth richest person in the world with a net worth of nearly $56 billion, as of Friday.

Ballmer, now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014. Forbes puts Ballmer at No. 15 on its billionaire list, with a net worth of about $28 billion.

During Friday's CNBC interview, Ballmer also revealed that, despite speculation to the contrary, he never wanted to buy Twitter. There had been rumors that Ballmer and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, both major Twitter shareholders, were interested in making a bid.