In 2008, Michael and Xochi Birch sold their social network Bebo to AOL for $850 million. While it netted Michael Birch about $300 million (and nearly $600 million when combined with his wife’s shares), the company crumbled shortly after the acquisition.
It suffered from mismanagement on the part of AOL, as well as from the rise of Facebook.
Randy Falco was CEO of AOL then, and the mismanaged acquisition was part of the reason he lost his job.
In 2010, private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners acquired and tried to revive Bebo for less than $10 million. Two months ago, Bebo filed for bankruptcy.
Now Michael Birch has purchased his company back for $1 million. He’s not entirely sure what he’ll do with the company but he tweets that he’ll have fun trying to re-invent it.
We just bought Bebo back for $1m. Can we actually re-invent it? Who knows, but it will be fun trying…
— Michael Birch (@mickbirch) July 1, 2013
Bebo, which stands for “Blog Early, Blog Often”, was founded in 2005 by the husband-wife team. In its prime, it had 40 million users worldwide. At the time of the acquisition, Falco called Bebo a “true pioneer of the social Web.”
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