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Live Blog: AOL / Bebo Acquisition Call
Below are my live notes from the call discussing the acquisition of Bebo by AOL. This post will remain live until I note that the call has concluded so keep refreshing to see the newest notes — newest content on the top.
9:34 – the call has concluded.
9:33 – question: I am wondering if you have an estimate on when the deal will be complete. Falco – we can only speculate in a short and normal period of time – 30 days or so.
9:31 - question: do we have any financial info? and is there any attempt to build in the U.S.? Falco – there’s plenty of analysts you can source on the multiples, we don’t discuss them, i have to say no comment on that. The U.S. is number 3 is a pretty big deal and why we are so excited about the future opps is the combo and integration of ICQ and AIM with Bebo. There is no other social network that will have that kind of power. Anytime we can prove our case, we get a lot of support for capital into it.
9:30 – question: what do you think Bebo users will think when they hear that they will be supercharged for monetization? Joanna – 2 days ago we launched a new music site and bringing in great content and TW being one of the leading companies we will enhance our value to our users and stay fresh and new.
9:28 – question: what does all of this mean for Yahoo? Joanna – we clearly can’t comment
9:26 – question: when will Bebo in other languages? Google has 5% of AOL today did you speak to Google to close the deal with Bebo? Joanna – we have launched in Poland and into other countries in the next 5-6 months localized versions. Falco – we as good partners will inform Google about this and why it’s such a great acquisition but not a lot of discussion beforehand.
9:24 – question: we’ve seen some resistance by social networking users to advertising. Randy – we spent a lot of time in this area. Our ads won’t disrupt the user experience and Joanna has been a leader in this and it’s one of the reasons we were drawn to this. Joanna – we’ve done a lot of work in the engagement marketing area. We only put one ad per page (allen’s note: let’s watch this after the acquisition closes).
9:20 – question: we are hearing that on first glance that AOL has overpaid. Randy – I think you have to look at our trackrecord and we’ve been prudent in what we’ve paid for past acquisitions. Compares their acquisitions to Google/DoubleClick and Microsoft/aQuantive.
9:19 – question: what does this mean with pre-existing ad deals with yahoo/ms? Joanna – we’ve got a little bit of time before this closes and it’s a bit early to speak about this. We think this deal offers big opportunities for all of our partners. We will be focusing on expansion in 5 new countries in Europe.
9:18 – question: trying to find out more on how you plan to monetize Bebo using platform A. Ron – at the centerpiece will be around the engagement marketing that Bebo pioneered. This is a really new vision for new media and entertainment – basically high engagement.
9:17 – question: what does this mean for the AOL relationship with Time Warner? Falco – I guess the best way to answer that is to say that TW is incredibly supportive for AOL. And now one more time we’ve said strategically we believe this is an important space to be in, they (TW) supported us with a rather big relationship.
9:15 - opening for questions
9:12 - Joanna Shields – it’s a landmark day for Bebo both employees and users. I’ve watched the Web progress into a lucrative advertising platform and the combination will set a new level for the social Web. The future isn’t about delivering more content to more people. She mentions the social graph and things exist on a cultural platform. At Bebo, the real value we’ve created is in the new advertising formats we’ve created. Late last year we launched the open media platform. Open media launched with cbs, mtv and others and now have 400 partners distributing content through Bebo.
9:11 - Grant – mentions "engagement advertising" and we will supercharge the advertising with Platform A.
9:10 – Ron Grant – we are so pleased to have Bebo and Joanna Shields join AOL. This company is really unique and we’ve been talking with Bebo for over five months and are excited about their passion for the space and we share the same vision as they do. They’ve created a unique social media experience and have built a network that lets content creators, users and advertisers connect.
9:09 – Falco – we will be a social media powerhouse. 80 million unduplicated visitors when you count AIM and Bebo. Bebo will be connected to the largest distributed web audience and will circulate traffic from our sites to Bebo and the reverse and have the scale to grow Bebo worldwide. Joanna has impressed me with her vision for the new Web and better ways to connect and develop long-term relationships.
9:07 – Randy Falco – this deal is a "gamechanger" and will help power our strategic priorities across the board. Bebo is the best social media asset out there and has the most engaged audience and has seen great growth since its launch 3 years ago.
9:06 – Trisha Primrose – PR – explains Randy Falco, Ron Grant and Joanna Shields, Bebo President are on the call.
9:05 – Still on hold
9:00 – Hold Music (you’d think in 2008, we might have a selection of music to pick from!)