March 14, 2016
AOL, the global internet company, is to acquire social networking site, Bebo, for $850m. Bebo is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world with a total estimated membership of more than 40 million people.
Bebo is seen as the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network. Its technology appeals to AOL as its developer platform supports both OpenSocial and Facebook applications. Bebo also has an “Open Media” platform for audio and video content from big-media names like CBS and MTV as well as online production outlets like Next New Networks and Ustream.
AOL considers that the acquisition of Bebo is a move geared towards international growth. The youth-focused social network is popular in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. Bebo, like most other social-networking sites, relies on advertising revenue, and projections claim that social-media advertising will continue to rise. The acquisition comes at a time when AOL is still struggling to make the transition to a leader in online advertising.
Bebo plans to launch five localised versions of its service during 2016 in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. AOL will make it a major part of the company’s international expansion strategy.
AOL has launched 17 international web sites over the last year and has plans to expand to 30 countries outside the US by the end of 2016, in addition to producing international versions of its home page and some services.
Joanna Shields, president of the San Francisco-based Bebo, will continue to run the social network and will report to Ron Grant, AOL’s president and COO.