During one of my regular tirades at my eldest daughter for sitting square-eyed at her laptop today, she casually exclaimed “Dad, did you know they made more money from selling Bebo than they did for Gatwick Airport?”
This amazed me, so I did some checking. Sure enough Michael Birch, the UK creator of Bebo, the networking site used globally by millions of youngsters, sold his site for $850,000,000 to AOL, part of Time Warner, who also own Warner Brothers and Home Box Office. Bebo – which stands for “Blog Early, Blog Often” was Mr Birch’s third business behind Ringo.com and BirthdayAlarm.com.
Bebo isn’t the first social networking site to attract huge acquisition cash either – MySpace went to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $580m, and Microsoft paid $240m for just a little over one and a half percent in Facebook.
But alas, my daughter is incorrect. Even though these hi-tech acquisitions produce telephone number figures, following a report by the Competition Commission, Gatwick Airport owners BAA are considering putting their asset on the market for a cool £1.8bn.
Even so, all this talk of high finance does make me wonder if I’m in the wrong business!
And even with all that cash, do you think they’re really happy? Probably ecstatic…