Bebo for a Billion? A 100% Chance of Wrongness!
First, Google and News Corp. are not about to buy Bebo for $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
Second, Bebo–as has been reported and is easy to find out about by anyone who can pick up a phone and ask around like a reporter is supposed to–has been working on raising a round of funding with Allen & Co. over the last few months. Google and News Corp. (owner of Dow Jones, which owns this site) are potential investors, along with a long list of strategic and institutional investors.
Third, in the course of that funding effort, sources tell me that there has been some interest expressed by some potential investors–namely, Yahoo and Microsoft–about possibly buying the whole social-networking company. But this interest has been, shall we say, preliminary. This is completely typical in these funding rounds.
Fourth, now that Microsoft has forcibly engaged Yahoo in an actual bidding tango for its heart and soul, the prospect of either of them paying any attention to Bebo has now been minimized.
Fifth, Bebo is still at work raising that round, trying to take advantage of the same fair-weather mood that has gotten recent paydays for similar companies like Facebook ($240 million from Microsoft) and Slide ($50 million from T. Rowe Price and Fidelity in another Allen & Co.-brokered deal).
Sixth, Bebo, whose major strength is in England where it is on top, might be valued at $1 billion or more in the round. It had about 21 million unique visitors in a recent month and is a very interesting and highly innovative social network, well worth investing in.
And, finally, seventh, BoomTown is simultaneously incredulous and in awe of the way TechCrunch’s fanciful story on the Bebo sale yesterday managed to both loudly hawk the rumor and also madly backpedal away from it: “We put the chances of this rumor being true at a solid 50%.”
Well, maybe not so solid.
Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.