AOL announced it will pay 850 million in cash to buy social media network Bebo, which has total global membership of more than 40 million. Bebo is one of the largest social networks in Britain, and is ranked number one in Ireland and New Zealand and number three in the U.S, according to AOL. Bebo has 100 employees operating in offices in the U.K., San Francisco and Austin.
Bebo president Joanna Shields will continue to run the company, reporting to AOL President Ron Grant. In January 2008, Bebo had 22.4 million unique visitors worldwide with visitors averaging more than 3 hours and 30 minutes on the site during the month. In February 2008, Bebo had 4.8 million unique U.S. visitors with visitors averaging 1 hour and 40 minutes on the site during the month. In January 2008, 60% of Bebo’s traffic came from Europe, followed by North America with 22%, and Asia-Pacific with 16%. In January 2008, there were 11.4 million unique visitors from the UK to Bebo, representing the largest proportion of the site’s worldwide traffic.