AOL has dotted the i's and crossed the t's on its bargain Bebo buy.
The $850m (£417m) takeover was agreed in principle in mid-March and with the former front door CD spammer revealing Bebo CEO Joanna Shields will jump to Executive VP of AOL and President of People Networks (Bebo, AIM, ICQ and AOL's other community platforms). She will report to AOL President and COO Ron Grant.
"With the addition of Bebo and the creation of People Networks, AOL is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the exploding social media space by delivering a more personal experience for consumers and a better way for advertisers to engage them," said Randy Falco, AOL Chairman and CEO. "AOL is now fully focused on growing our business in three key areas - our advertising network, publishing and people networks - by delivering relevant content and advertising across the Web, and we're making great progress in each area."
AOL says its reason for pursuing Bebo (other than its relative snip of a price) is that it had better learnt to monetise its site without sacrificing the user experience. "Bebo created an environment that enables advertisers, brands and media companies to engage in meaningful, relevant conversations with its users," says Grant.
And again I say What A Bargain! A quick reminder of the maths: News Corp bought MySpace (100m users) for $580m in 2005, it is now valued at $15bn. Microsoft's 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook (64m users) cost $240m, a price which also values it at $15bn. Bebo (40m users and the highest average page views) - $850m.
Expect Microsoft to go after the remaining 98.4 per cent of Facebook soon and, by contrast, expect it to pay a fortune...