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AOL Sells Social Networking Site, Bebo, To Private Investment Firm

     
3:03 pm on Jun 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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AOL Sells Social Networking Site, Bebo, To Private Investment Firm [news.bbc.co.uk]
Internet company AOL has sold Bebo, the social networking site it bought two years ago for $850m (then £417m).

Criterion Capital Partners, a small private investment firm, announced that it had bought the business, but did not disclose the amount paid.

However, analysts suspect it to be just a fraction of the price paid by AOL in 2008.

[edited by: tedster at 10:56 pm (utc) on Jun 17, 2010]
[edit reason] fix typo [/edit]

3:21 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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To be honest, I'd never heard of the site until yesterday. I understand AOL is not happy about the news of the sale being made public.
4:52 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Bebo is a facebook-like social site, as I recall its popularity is primarily in the UK. They stand out from some others in that their platform runs facebook apps in FBML, so makers of FB apps could run them on Bebo too.

I may be wrong, that info is a few years old now. Bebo was a featured presenter at a FB conference I attended, announcing that they'd just added that functionality to the site.

Sad times for AOL. They're on a roll... not the good kind.
7:28 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I just read the initial offer was 2.5 million. AOL then asked them to beef it up a bit. I'd guess it went for less than 10 million.
9:27 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The dropoff between "best social site in class" and 2nd best is a precipitous one. I'd be surprised if we don't see classmates follow suit too, Facebook has them both dominated to the umpteenth degree (for free!). It's good to get out while you still have something left worth selling.
11:52 pm on June 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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AOL, which paid $850 million for the site, got less than $10 million for it, said a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified since the price wasn’t made public. AOL said in a filing today it expects to record a tax benefit this quarter of $275 million to $325 million from the sale.

[businessweek.com...]
1:16 am on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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For under 10mil, what a great buy! Bebo can make tons of $$ for years to come with the right management.
2:43 am on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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nethead, though I hope your right, I can't help but notice that traffic to Bebo.com is down over 50% in just the past 12 months and continues to head lower every month. That and the fact it's hard to monetize and expensive to host social networking sites it may take more than the right management, it may take new developments in how online social sites attract attention and make money from them.

If the visitor loss can't be turned around quickly it may be for sale for less a year from now.
6:19 am on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I totally agree with you but still think its a great buy. The site has potential but they need additional development and hela lot more aps and options. I hate seeing any one niche dominates by anyone..let it be in search Google or in Social networking - facebook. While bebo isnt anywhere near facebook the potential is there and needs the right team to manage it. Even if they can maintain the current rank (which will be hard since the site is in decline) they will get a good investment for what they spend. Who knows I hope ur right and if they lower the price next year to x00,000, we may buy it :) lol.
12:47 pm on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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what a gigantic waste of shareholder value yet again from aol. they have a long tradition of destroying invested money, even much worse than yahoo. think of icq (100 million loss), think of the abandoned netscape browser (4.2 billion dollar loss) and above all the time warner merger (300 billion dollar loss).

no bubble that this company has left out. the strangest thing: they are still around. living on old dotcom money and fueled by the everlasting hype about the next big thing that won't come. what has to happen to put these guys out of business? ridiculous.
12:49 pm on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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nethead, there is absolutely *no* potential in bebo and has never been. at the time of the acquisition it was nothing more than a communiy of british underclass kiddies. since then, it got even worse.

don't fool yourself. it's over, man. facebook got the market.
10:17 pm on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I thought AOL was over. Everything they do means a bad thing for shareholders.
10:30 pm on June 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Great job, losing more than half of its visitors in a year. And I thought Ning was toast (they're now 4 times as big as Bebo, 1.5 times a year ago). Don't think there's light at the end of the tunnel.