Yahoo Inc. is working on a takeover offer of Bebo, the most popular social networking Website in Britain, and is willing to pay up to $1 billion to seal the deal.
Bebo, which was founded in 2005 by the U.K.'s Michael Birch and his American wife Xochi, has become a global rival to MySpace, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which was outbid by News Corp for MySpace, is also said to have made an offer for Bebo last year. Bebo's 25 million users worldwide compare with 100 million for MySpace.
A bid for Bebo would represent the second time Yahoo has gone after a social networking site. Last year, however, its $1 billion bid for Facebook was rejected, MarketWatch reports.
Yahoo! was also said to be eyeing Facebook, another social networking site, for which it was said to be willing to pay $1 billion.
After failing to seal that deal, recent changes among Yahoo!’s management suggest that the embattled web giant is placing a heavier emphasis on acquisitions as it struggles to keep up with Google, the leader in online advertising.
Earlier this month, the group hired Blake Jorgensen, a veteran Silicon Valley dealmaker, as its new chief financial officer. Mr Jorgensen, who co-founded Thomas Weisel Partners, the technology-focused investment bank, in 1998, replaced Susan Decker, who was promoted in December to oversee advertising sales.
Mr Jorgensen, who will oversee Yahoo!’s acquisitions strategy, had previously advised on some of Yahoo!'s biggest deals, including the $300 million acquisition of Inktomi in 2002 and the $4.5 billion acquisition of GeoCities in 1999.
In recent weeks Yahoo! was speculated to be a takeover target itself, with Microsoft said to be weighing a $50 billion-plus bid for the company, timesonline.co.uk reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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