AOL sells Bebo for undisclosed sum

17 Jun 2010

Internet company AOL has sold social-networking site Bebo to a private investment firm, Criterion Capital Partners.

AOL bought Bebo for US$850m only two years ago. The amount it sold the social-networking firm for was not disclosed.

However, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that AOL would only get back a “small fraction” of what it paid for the firm.

AOL announced that it intended to sell Bebo back in April, telling staff in an internal email that the business had been declining and would need a significant investment to be rejuvenated.

The email read: “Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social-networking space. AOL is not in a position at this time to further fund and support Bebo in pursuing a turnaround in social networking.”

Bebo, once the top social-networking site in Ireland and the UK, has been slipping in popularity in the past few years as rival Facebook has grown rapidly.

Meanwhile the site never really took off in the US and its 5.8 million users in February 2009 has already dropped to 5.1 million a year later, while Facebook has a user base of 210 million.

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