Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

All Hail, Smithers and Burns!

Valleywag got a hold of a sticker (see below) that Bebo employees are passing around in anticipation of the close of the purchase of the third-ranked social-networking site by AOL for $850 million in cash.

The motto: “I, for one, welcome our new AOL overlords.”

Why shouldn’t they? As BoomTown reported, every Bebo employee has had their previously granted stock options accelerated and fully vested under terms of the deal.

This is typical in acquisitions by the Time Warner (TWX) online subsidiary, since it cannot offer enough of its moribund old media stock.


Unfortunately, those kind of deal terms don’t make for the kind of environment that encourages already jumpy entrepreneurs to stay. In fact, it kind of gives them a free pass to leave.

Still, it is nice to see Bebo minions celebrating their new bosses, including AOL CEO Randy Falco and President Ron Grant, who helmed the Bebo deal.

But to clarify for Bebo staff: Falco and Grant’s nickname at AOL is Smithers and Burns, that lovable pair from “The Simpsons,” and not overlords.

It goes without saying that further errors like this will not be tolerated.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald