AOL (TWX) is buying the social-network Bebo for $850 million. That’s $21.25 for each of Bebo’s 40 million members.
Here’s the company-wide email from Randy Falco:
AOL has acquired Bebo
I’ve said many times that my vision for AOL is that we become a global, market-leading ad-supported digital media company. Today, we’re taking a major step toward realising this ambition.
We’re announcing plans to acquire Bebo, a leading global social media network founded in 2005 that has a worldwide membership of 40 million.
This acquisition is game changing for AOL for a number of reasons. It puts us squarely in a leading position in social media at a time when it?s growing at a fantastic rate. It will help power our strategic priorities across the board. And, just as important, by acquiring Bebo we can reclaim our heritage as a leader and innovator in the online community space.
Bebo is a true pioneer of the social Web. And, as a result, it has the most engaged audience and has seen tremendous growth. It’s one of the leading social networks in the UK, ranked No. 1 in Ireland and New Zealand, and No. 3 in the U.S. With our AIM and ICQ networks, we will have a powerhouse reaching about 80 million unique users worldwide. Few other social networks can claim that reach.
And by bringing Bebo into the AOL family, under the continued leadership of its President Joanna Shields, we’ll be able to accelerate its growth in the U.S., serving consumers here who are looking for the kind of superior social media experience Bebo provides. At the same time, the acquisition will provide us new opportunities to monetise a wider, more global, more deeply engaged audience through Platform-A. (You can read more about the acquisition here.)
In the past year, we?ve made great strides transforming AOL, through new product and programming launches and upgrades, our rapid international expansion and the creation of Platform-A. The Bebo acquisition, which we expect to close in the next month, supports all these efforts, and puts us in the game in the very important social media arena.
Please join me in congratulating everyone involved in this acquisition.
Last month, TechCrunch reported that Bebo was on the block. AOL was named as one of several less-likely buyers. Photo credit: TechCrunch.