Bebo, one of the big players in the social networking arena, will be acquired by America Online for $850 million. The company has seen tremendous success in non-US markets, like Ireland, where it is presently the top social network. Its membership of 40 million makes it one of the more prominent sites of the day. It currently ranks at number three in the United States.
The purchase will finally give the struggling America Online a massive new group of users and a new way to push its Web 2.0 agenda. AOL CEO Randy Falco noted the importance of Bebo to AOL’s future in a press release, “Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media.” AOL. Bebo was a pioneer in what the company calls the “social media networking” market, and has produced original content for their social network.
The company joined OpenSocial in November 2007 and has made a pretty large commitment to their Platform, working with Facebook to adapt their Facebook Platform to ease adoption of applications on Bebo.
The acquisition is part of AOL’s new social media business strategy and will serve as a large boost for the company. More analysis will follow later in the day.