What is my company worth?

Quite often when I read that an Internet based company is being acquired for say a 6 or 7 figure sum I ponder on how discussions took place for such an acquisition, and how they priced the value of the company.

Does the acquirer low-ball and shoot off an email saying that they'll give them 100K plus share options? While the acquiree shoots off a one-liner something around the lines of: "10E6 - Want to talk?". Or, is all the negotiations left to (expensive) lawyers right from the beginning?

Maybe there is a simple answer to this question, but not blatantly obvious to a techie (me).

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