Asian investor to acquire Friendster for US$100 million

5 Dec 2009

Social-networking site Friendster, which has more than 115 million users and has been rumoured to be an acquisition target of Facebook, is to be sold by the end of this month to an Asian investor for US$100 million.

Computer programmer Jonathan Abrams established Sydney-headquartered Friendster in California in 2002.

A top site in Asia

The site has evolved to become one of the leading social-networking sites in Asia, where more than 90pc of its traffic originates. The site receives more than 61 million unique visitors per month and 19 billion page views per month. It is within the Top 100 sites in the world, according to Alexa.

Reports originating yesterday indicated that Friendster is to be sold to an unnamed Asian investor for US$100 million. This pales beside the massive US$10-billion valuation placed on Facebook, which has 350 million registered users.

It is understood that there is a shortlist of buyers willing to buy Friendster, including Chinese online player Tencent Holdings, which has a market value of US$35 billion.

No to Google

It is understood that Friendster rebuffed a US$30-million purchase offer by search giant Google in 2006 and an effort by Facebook to buy Friendster ended in a wrangle over intellectual property rights.

Earlier this week, Friendster redesigned its website, a shift from online advertising to micro payments and revealed an increased focus on the Asian youth market.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years