AOL announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Bebo. The popular social networking network has a total membership of more than 40 million worldwide. The deal will cost AOL $850m in cash.
“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,” an official AOL statement said.
AOL said Bebo 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 – ranking number one in Ireland and New Zealand, and number three in the US.
According to Bebo’s stats, its users view an average of 78 pages per usage day.
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.
Bebo has approximately 100 employees operating in offices in the UK, San Francisco and Austin Texas.
“Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media,” said Randy Falco, chairman and CEO at AOL.
“What drew us to Bebo was its substantial and fast-growing worldwide user-base, its vision of a truly social web, and the monetisation opportunities that leverage Platform-A across our combined global audience,” he added, earning our vitriol for using the word ‘leveraging’.