William Hill pays dead man; Facebook pays £5.3m for initials

william-hill-dead-guy-facebook-initialsBack in May, we brought you the tale of Jon Matthews, a sixty-year-old punter in Milton Keynes who’d beat the bookies by beating death — twice. Matthews, who suffered from mesothelioma (a form of cancer linked with asbestos exposure) had twice laid down £100 at his local William Hill shop on 50:1 odds that he wouldn’t survive another calendar year. When he started winning, doctors theorized that the bets were giving Matthews an extra incentive to live.

Sadly, Matthews’ third attempt at beating the book came up short when he died in May, just a month prior to his cashing in. Fortunately, the bookies at Will Hill have decided to say ‘close enough’ and will pay out the £10k winnings to Harefield Hospital where Matthews received treatment. The money will be applied toward the purchase of an Oxylog 3000 Transport Ventilator. Cheers to Matthews for a life well lived, and to Will Hill for honoring his memory in a way that will help others facing a similar fight.

Fresh off its most recent privacy cockup, it’s been revealed that Facebook splashed out £5.31m ($8.5m) for the fb.com domain. The domain was the property of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the social networking colossus actually did the deal back in November, but we’re only just learning the price now because Facebook kept it, um, private. For the record, Facebook paid only $200k to buy Facebook.com back in 2005. FB.com currently redirects to Facebook, but Facebook ultimately intends on using the fb.com domain for employee’s internal use.

Mention Facebook to a lot of wealthy Americans, and the initials they hear aren’t FB, but FU. After telling its clients that it had a back door into buying a piece of Facebook, investment bankers Goldman Sachs had to back down and restrict the secondary market trading to non-US customers. Goldman, last seen leading Betfair astray, felt the excess publicity surrounding its coup could be construed as public promotion of a private offering, something frowned upon by US securities laws. So, for the moment, Goldman intends to focus on fleecing deep-pocketed foreigners.