Mumbai: AOL has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Bebo (http://www.bebo.com), a leading global social media network. Together with its AIM and ICQ personal communications network, the acquisition will give AOL a premier position in the fast growing world of social media with a network of approximately 80 million unique users.
With a total membership of more than 40 million worldwide, Bebo is a global social media network which combines community, self-expression and entertainment to enable its users to consume, create, discover and share content. Bebo is one of the leading social networks in the UK, and is ranked number one in Ireland and New Zealand, and number three in the US. Its users are heavily engaged and view an average of 78 pages per usage day. Bebo has approximately 100 employees operating in offices in the UK, San Francisco and Austin, TX.
The deal comes just one week after AOL’s launch of Open AIM 2.0, an initiative that allows the developer community greater freedom to access the AIM network and integrate AIM into its sites and applications, and the announcement by Apple of a downloadable AIM application for the iPhone.
Under the terms of the agreement, AOL will acquire Bebo for $850 million in cash.
"Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media," said AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco. "What drew us to Bebo was its substantial and fast-growing worldwide user-base, its vision of a truly social web, and the monetization opportunities that leverage Platform-A across our combined global audience. This positions us to offer advertisers even greater reach and marketers significant insights into the desires and needs of consumers."
"AOL understands the shifting dynamics of the Web and has clearly demonstrated its commitment to leveraging the ever-increasing power of social networks," said Bebo president Joanna Shields.
"Bebo’s dynamic management team recognizes that the Internet is less about destination and more about connecting people, culture and lifestyles," said AOL president and COO Ron Grant. "This acquisition supports our key objectives – accelerating the growth, engagement and monetization of one of the world’s most engaged online communities."
Upon closing the transaction, current President Joanna Shields will continue to run Bebo and will report to Ron Grant.