Bebo founders buy back social network for $1m


Social network Bebo has been bought back by its original founders, with the intention of rekindling its former success.


Michael and Xochi Birch, who founded the company in 2005, bought the company at auction for $1m (£657,000).

Bebo was one of the early success stories in social media, at one time a market leader in the UK and Ireland before Facebook took off. At its peak, it had about 40 million users.

The firm was sold to AOL in 2008 for $850m (£558m) but declining users led to it being sold on to criterion in 2010 for just $10m.

Bebo sought bankruptcy protection in May and Birch has now bought the company from its receivers.

In a tweet, Mr Birch announced that he had acquired Bebo and revealed his intention to relaunch the network.

"Can we actually reinvent it? Who knows, but it will be fun trying..." he wrote in the message.

The decline of Bebo has been partially blamed on the reluctance of its previous owner AOL to invest in the social network to help it keep up with rivals. Declining visitor numbers led AOL to sell off the site to Criterion Capital and a consortium of individual investors.

Bebo is just the latest in a series of relaunches of once influential social networks. Social news site Digg has undergone a remake under new owners, as has MySpace.

View Micheal Birch’s tweet below:

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