Bebo's founder buys back company at $849m profit

London, July 3 (ANI): Michael Birch, the internet entrepreneur, who along with his wife Xochi founded social networking site, Bebo, in the early 2000s, has reportedly paid 1 million dollars to buy back the site.

Bebo, alongside MySpace was one of the challengers to Facebook with 40 million monthly users in the initial years. However, it struggled to stay relevant and was eclipsed by Facebook as well as other sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and, more recently, Google+ and Reddit, BBC reports.

According to the report, Bebo was bought by AOL five years back for 850 million dollars, a deal widely regarded as significantly overpriced at the time.

By 2010, a lack of strategic leadership on the part of AOL and the rapid growth of Facebook had crippled Bebo, and AOL in effect closed it down, though users could still access the site.

The investment consortium Criterion Capital Partners bought Bebo's assets for between 2.5 million dollars and 10 million dollars in June 2010, later bringing Birch on board as strategic adviser.

That disputes between Criterion and the investors led to Bebo seeking bankruptcy protection and being put up for sale.

Birch is now the sole owner after beating two rival bids in a post-bankruptcy auction. He plans to relaunch the network and give something new to the users.

A team of designers and engineers at Birch's San Francisco-based business Monkey Inferno are now working on redesigning the site.

Monkey Inferno head Shaan Puri said that they are aware of the odds that are stacked, but they love challenges. He added that the Bebo users deserve better than what they have received in the past few years. (ANI)

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