You've got cash.
Bebo, a social-networking site that is doing very well in Europe and New Zealand with around 40 million members, was just purchased for $850 million by America Online.
The two companies had recently partnered up to ease the operations of friend inviting, but it's largely a surprise that AOL would make such a move. The AOL brass chalk it up to expansion and an effort to buy up properties that show potential for monetization and are open (Bebo supports Facebook and OpenSocial apps.) But anyone who's been around the internet for a while knows that AOL is not classically about openness.
Joanna Shields, President of Bebo, will remain at the company's helm at their offices in San Francisco.
As a point of reference, Facebook has around 67 million members, MySpace is around 100 million, although some say that's bunk. This acquisition puts the AOL social-networking reach at around 80 million. Meanwhile, Friendster is cruising at a
cool 3 total members.
UPDATE: Friendster contacted us and helpfully pointed out that the social networking site has over 62 million users, had over 34 million unique visitors in January and is the 11th most visited site on the entire interwebs. Our original report of three total users was grossly inaccurate (and just a joke.).
news.com: AOL buys social network Bebo for $850 million