$550 Million? No thanks, says Bebo
Reports are circulating that Bebo has turned down an offer of $550 million (£300M) from an unnamed British telcom. Their magic number seems to be closer to $1 billion, if the reports are accurate. The news follows rumors in March that Facebook turned down a $750 million offer.
12 July update: SiliconBeat quotes Sarah Gavin, communications director for Bebo.com: I can confirm that BT has not approached us and we currently have no contact with anyone at BT. We have no idea where this rumour came from.
If true, this is one of those moments that in hindsight will make Michael Birch and Barry Maloney look like visionaries or fools. Given the overall rise of the sector and the incredible traction that Bebo has in Europe, my money is on the former.
It is pretty easy to tick off a list of companies who have that kind of money and might be interested in acquiring one of the hottest-ever properties on the internet. And those are just the obvious potential suitors.
Start adding "non-traditional" potential buyers like eBay who are known to spend loads on cool kit, and you would quickly fill your favourite Moleskine. eBay? Yes, eBay. Half of all new Skype accounts come from Bebo.
Pete Cashmore thinks holding out is a good idea. Michael Arrington, who broke the story, doesn't offer an opinion but quotes a Bebo investor from Benchmark as saying, "there has been a lot of interest from a lot of people around Bebo”.
The success of Myspace (controlled by Fox Interactive Media) has led to a series of buyout offers on its competitors. Facebook was rumored to have turned down offers nearing $1 billion from Viacom and Yahoo. It looks like Kleiner’s recapitalization of troubled Friendster late last year for a few million dollars may have been a good bet.More discussion: Internet Marketing News, Socialtwister 2.0, Download Squad, Social Degree, Screenwerk, Damien Mulley, rev2.org and Ken McGuire
Technorati Tags: social.networks, vc, bebo
Tuesday, July 11, 2006