Another turn in the twisted life of social network Bebo, which has unfortunately gone in the direction of a downward spiral for much of the last couple of years: the site appears to have been bought back by its founder Michael Birch for $1 million. Birch originally sold the company to Aol (owners of TechCrunch) for some $850 million back in 2008, and has since been a part of the group that has tried to rescue Bebo after Aol offloaded it. Birch now says he wants to “re-invent” it:
For a pretty tiny pricetag, this won’t be a case of “reinvent or die trying,” but it will be interesting to see how and if Birch can inject something new into the company, years after Bebo fell well behind the likes of Facebook and Twitter in the race among social media platforms.
The move comes about seven weeks after Bebo filed for Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy protection, at which point it was put under the receivership of the Burke Capital Corporation, which has been handling an auction of its assets.
Confusingly, prior to that Chapter 11 filing, the company had been jointly owned by Criterion Capital Corporation, as well as a consortium of investors that include Birch and his co-founder wife, Xochi. It appears that part of the issue has been that the group was unhappy with how that co-ownership arrangement was working, and so was intentionally trying to move it into a sell-off state, starting in February of this year.
In other words, Birch’s strategy has been going to plan so far. But shareholder wrangling is one thing. Now comes the hard part: trying to figure out if there is any life left for Bebo in an overcrowded market.
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