AOL keeping its Bebo

The new look AOL will include social networking site Bebo according to CEO Tim Armstrong who is in the process of restructuring the distressed AOL business.

AOL, which is currently in the process of being spun off from parent Time Warner, has attracted recent speculation that Bebo may also be divested into a standalone asset.  

Speaking at the US Sun Valley media and technology conference Armstrong said that the Bebo property would be moved to a ventures unit of  AOL  with the intention hat it would be taken to the next level of growth.  

Armstrong confirmed that other AOL assets are under review for possible sale or divestiture, but would not be drawn on details. AOL assets include messaging service AIM, celebrity gossip site TMZ and a raft of global consumer focused verticals sites. Most of AOL’s online content creation and development is housed in India with the global operations handling sales and marketing.

“More than any other player this year, everyone wants to know where they go from here post-Time Warner,” Standard & Poor's analyst Tuna Amobi told Reuters.

Armstrong, a former Google exec, is in the middle of a 100-day review and is due to present his strategy later this month.

Meanwhile Bebo founder and multi-millionaire Michael Birch has launched a new digital media fund called PROfounders Capital.

The initial focus of investment will be in Europe “to fill the gap between angel and traditional venture funding in the digital media sector in Europe” and will stick to entrepreneur funding not institutional investors.

The fund has already raised about €21.4 million and is set to raise more with individual investors. Other fund partners include Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com; Peter Dubens, the entrepreneur behind Pipex, 365 Media and now Oakley Capital; and Jonathan Goodwin, founder of media boutique bank LongAcre.

 

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