AOL looks to 'sell or shut down' Bebo


AOL is looking to sell Bebo and could shut down the social network altogether, according to press reports. The move comes as the internet company looks to shed loss-making divisions that it considers will not make a significant contribution as it focuses on content, advertising and consumer services. AOL spun off from its parent company Time Warner in December last year. It bought the social network it purchased for close to $1bn in 2008.

In a note sent to its employees yesterday, AOL said: “Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space, " adding "AOL is not in a position at this time to further fund and support Bebo in pursuing a turnaround in social networking."


AOL, now run by former Google executivesis in the process of scouting out any potential buyers for the social network.

However, The Telegraph reports that Stephane Panier, global head of Bebo, has been in conversations with AOL’s chief executive, Tim Armstrong over the last six months about abandoning the network altogether rather than selling it.

Bebo’s UK office, based in central London, is to be closed at the end of this month, after all 30 employees were either made redundant or have since taken the redundancy package.

The Telegraph quotes a source close to Bebo’s UK operations said they had been expecting the announcement as user figures had dropped from nearly 40 million per month worldwide, to just 12 million as of February 2010.

AOL is to disclose the review of Bebo in its annual filing to Companies House in the UK, and said it would wrap up the review by the end of May.

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