AOL and Bebo – a sad tale told in data

AOL purchased Bebo, then a hot social network, for $850 million in March, 2008, with the hope of competing with Facebook. Sadly that was not to be. June 17th the story came to an end as Bebo was sold for somewhere between $2.5m and $10m to a private equity group. Of course, none of this was really news to Compete subscribers who have seen the clear trend in Bebo’s numbers as Facebook became more and more dominant over the last two years.

Here we see that Bebo has been in a steady state of decline for the last year — both in terms of unique visitors and in the Compete daily attention metric.

Will Criterion be able to get something out of the Bebo deal? In the old days, private equity would buy companies and actually fix them up before selling them again (as opposed to just loading them up with debt before spinning them public again as has been more common in the past decade). It looks to me like they’re going to have to figure out some new value for the asset to make money on this deal.

About Damian Roskill:
Damian Roskill is the Managing Director of Marketing at Compete. Before Compete Damian was head of products for a video start-up and has worked in start-ups for most of his career. Damian's career aspiration is to be at one with the advertising universe. Damian can be found on Twitter as Droskill, or connect with him on LinkedIn at