AOL to buy Bebo for $850m

AOL, part of the Time Warner media empire, is to acquire leading social networking website Bebo in an $850m (£417m) cash deal.Bebo, founded by British-born Michael Birch and his partner Xochi in 2005, claims to have around 40 million monthly users worldwide.The surprise deal marks a major push by AOL to grow its social media business, which consists of AIM, a cross between messaging and social networking, and personal communications network ICQ.AOL said that the acquisition of Bebo, which has gone beyond its social networking roots to launch online dramas such as Kate Modern and strike deals with TV broadcasters, will give it a “network of approximately 80 million unique users”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/13/bebo.digitalmediaAOL acquires Bebo social network
Time Warner’s AOL internet division is buying the social networking site Bebo for $850m (£417m) in cash.Bebo is the third-biggest social networking site in the US, behind MySpace and Facebook.AOL says that Bebo has more than 40 million members worldwide who view an average of 78 pages per day each.The price-tag is tiny when compared with the valuations of similar websites. Microsoft bought 1.6% of Facebook last year for $240m.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7294174.stmTime Warner’s AOL buys Bebo for $850m cash
AOL, the struggling internet portal owned by the media giant Time Warner, said today that it had bought Bebo, the young social networking site with a global audience of 7.1 million people, for $850 million in cash.The acquisition comes after 5 months of talks between the two companies, and brings to an end months of speculation in which MTV owner Viacom, Google, US television network CBS, and Microsoft were all named as potential buyers of the site.It also delivers a huge windfall – understood to be just over $700 million – to Bebo’s founders, British man Michael Birch, 37 and his Californian wife Xochi, who set the site up 3 years ago and have nurtured its growth.
business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article3545883.eceAOL to buy social networking site Bebo
AOL, looking for friends on the Internet, has found one in Bebo, an online social network popular with millions of British teenagers.On Thursday, AOL said it had agreed to buy Bebo for $850 million and planned to turn it into the “cornerstone” of its efforts to attract more Internet users and advertisers, said Randy Falco, chief executive of AOL.
http://iht.com/articles/2008/03/13/technology/aol.phpAOL Buying No. 3 Social Networking Site
Bebo lacks the hundred million friends of MySpace and the charmed social status of Facebook. But it is the third most popular social networking Web site in the United States and, to the besieged Internet company AOL, it is worth $850 million.AOL, a subsidiary of Time Warner, said Thursday that it would acquire Bebo and integrate the site with its popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), jump-starting AOL’s social networking strategy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/technology/14aol.htmlAOL to buy Bebo for $850M [IDG]
AOL will buy Bebo, a social networking site popular in the U.K., for $850 million in cash, the companies said today.AOL, which is owned by Time Warner, said it sees opportunities to make money from advertising on Bebo, which has about 40 million unique users worldwide.AOL is the latest of the major online players to grab a piece of the social networking pie. Microsoft is working with Facebook to deliver advertisements, and media giant News Corp. owns MySpace, the most widely used social networking site.
computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9068299AOL buys Bebo for $899 million
Time Warner’s AOL is to acquire social networking site Bebo.com for $US850 million ($899 million), hoping to establish a foothold in the social media sector of the internet.The deal is the latest step by AOL to transform itself from an internet-access powerhouse into an advertising-driven content player. In the past couple of years, AOL has acquired several online ad-sales firms. It has also worked to build out different media sites like celebrity news site TMZ and to revamp older sites such as its finance and news sites.
www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,23373262-15306,00.htmlPutting A Price On Bebo
AOL’s acquisition of social-networking site Bebo, announced Thursday, is the latest example of hazy math when it comes to valuing Web companies with little or no revenues.But mergers and acquisitions experts say valuing a hot company such as Bebo goes beyond crunching numbers.”It’s less about the [financial] value ratio than the strategic rationale,” says Ross Levinsohn, the former News Corp. executive who led the company’s $580 million MySpace acquisition. “They’re buying on the basis of what does this mean for our overall business.”How Bebo will fit into AOL’s overall business strategy is more important than knowing, for example, the social network’s current earnings or revenue ratio per user. This is the approach Levinsohn took during the MySpace acquisition, and it worked. “We couldn’t pencil the numbers out,” says Levinsohn, now a partner at venture firm Velocity Interactive Group. “Everyone thought we were insane. Now it looks like a steal.”
www.forbes.com/technology/2008/03/13/aol-time-warner-tech-cx_wt_0313bebo.htmlTakeover nets Bebo founders millions
Michael and Xochi Birch, husband and wife co-founders of Bebo, are expected to leave the company but will walk away with several hundred million dollars from AOL’s $850m (£417m) takeover.The Birches, who launched the website from their San Francisco living room in 2005, will pocket a fortune from the deal which, AOL said today, developed from talks that began five months ago.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/13/bebo.birchesAOL & Bebo – the kiss of death?
Bebo has been ripe for acquisition for what, in terms of the breakneck speeds of the technology industry, is a very long time. Even the relentless Silicon Valey rumour mill seemed to tire of speculation, when regular reports of discussions with Yahoo, Google and Microsoft dried up.
blogs.guardian.co.uk/digitalcontent/2008/03/aol_bebo_the_kiss_of_death.htmlBebo: Randy Falco’s $850 Million Rescue Plan for AIM
AOL has announced it will spend $850 million in cash to buy Bebo, the social network that dominates the United Kingdom and is an also-ran in most of the rest of the world. The deal keys on instant messaging, which is closely related to social networking as a method of communication among young (and not so young) people.As AOL has searched for a growth strategy over the last decade, one of the biggest puzzles has been what to do about the AIM system, which allows anyone on any computer to send instant messages, whether they were paying AOL customers or not. Even as AOL’s access service declined, AIM remained the preeminent IM system in the United States, fending off competition from Microsoft, Yahoo, and later, Google.
bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/randy-falcos-850-million-rescue-plan-for-aim/Social networking meets old media: Maybe the ad model can work
Now that two of the three largest social networks are now subsidiaries of traditional media companies-Time Warner and News Corp, which own Bebo and MySpace, respectively-we’re about to see whether the marriage of Web 2.0 with old media will have a happy ending.And an economic slowdown may reveal the outcome sooner than later as advertisers flock to familiar faces.
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=8222

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