Criterion Capital Partners, LLC, a merchant banking and financial advisory firm based in the US, has acquired Bebo, the youth-centric social media network, from AOL. As part of the deal, CCP will assume the rights and complete operating control over the global social platform business. CCP will take over Bebo’s global ops immediately and retain a San Francisco-based HQ.
Bebo launched in 2005 and was acquired by AOL in March 2008 for $850 million.
It is a social media network that combines community, connections, self-expression and entertainment via a range of social tools, games and a growing mobile platform. Bebo has a strong user base across the globe, including in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, Pakistan and the Netherlands.
Bebo has been strong in foreign markets and AOL tried to take advantage of that to drive traffic to its other ad-supported web properties, but the site has been losing ground. Worldwide, it had about 12.6 million users in April, less than half of the 26.9 million it had in the same month a year ago, according to comScore and The AP. In the US, Bebo was down to 4.9 million from 10.2 million a year earlier. In the same period, Facebook has grown to 121.8 million users in the U.S. from 67.5 million.