AOL's been an interesting business to watch over the last 10 years. From darling of the dotcom boom, buying Time Warner as a dashing young digital upstart, then finding the position somewhat reversed since the dark days of 2002, to business without portfolio in the UK since selling its domestic broadband business to Carphone Warehouse last year.
Now it's buying Bebo. On the face of it, an odd move. Strategically, yes, buy into social networking and use it to push your content, but Bebo? Facebook's younger rival? Home to schoolkids throughout the world. Yes, it has good audience numbers, but are they a good fit for the AOL brand? Are there 427 million good reasons to buy.....
Time will tell.
Report below taken from Marketing Week:
Internet company AOL has announced it is to acquire social networking site Bebo for $850m (£427m). AOL says the deal will give it a "premier position" in social media.
Bebo has around 40 million users worldwide and is the third most popular US social media site and the sixth in the UK, according to Nielsen Online figures. The company has around 100 employees operating in offices in the UK and the US.
AOL chairman and chief executive Randy Falco says: "Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL's personal communication network and puts us in a leading position in social media." He adds: "This positions us to offer advertisers even greater reach and marketers significant insights into the desires and needs of consumers."
Bebo president Joanna Shields will continue to run the social media company after the deal is closed and will report to Ron Grant, the president and chief operating officer of AOL