YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site that has yet to celebrate its first anniversary or its first profit, is quickly becoming the must-have prize for media and technology giants.

Google is in discussions to acquire YouTube for $1.6 billion, people involved in the talks said yesterday. While the talks are in the early stages, and may fall apart, the size of Google’s offer may push YouTube closer to a deal. Other companies have also expressed interest and could swoop in with a higher offer.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Viacom and the News Corporation, among others, have all visited YouTube’s headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., in recent months to inquire about buying the company.

The frenzied hunt to acquire the next hot Internet property - MySpace last year and now YouTube — has become reminiscent of the first Internet boom, as companies bid up prices of sites whose ability to generate profits is the subject of much debate.

Get the full story at The New York Times