The Return Of BEBO: Twitch Acquires Former Social Media Giant Turned eSports Org For $25M

Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch has acquired one-time market-leading social media company-turned esports organiser Bebo for up to $25 million.

According to TechCrunch both Discord and Facebook had also made bids for Bebo, with Facebook said to have offered $20m.

Founded by Michael and Xochi Birch and originally launched as social media networking site way back in 2005, Bebo became a serious market leading rival to Facebook in some countries, notably the UK and Ireland.

Its success was such, that AOL acquired it for $850m in 2008. However, Bebo couldn’t maintain its growth and AOL was all out of ideas, selling it on to Criterion Capital just two years later for just $25m. But, as the social media landscape rapidly changed, with MySpace dying and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram rising to dominance, Bebo filled for bankruptcy.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the road though, because the original founders then purchased back for just $1m, and spent a while testing different ways to reinvent the company, including setting up the Monkey Inferno apps studio.

Despite initial success with their Blab video messaging service, the team eventually turned their attention to esports – organising and running tournaments for streamers on other platforms like Twitch.

The acquisition is being seen as part of Twitch’s efforts to compete with OBS and Xsplit, increasing its support for esports athletes and personalities, and organising and hosting tournaments.

Apparently Bebo’s staff of ten and tech has already been assigned to Twitch’s competitive events division, Twitch Rivals – which currently organises and hosts events on popular titles including Apex Legends, Battalion 1944, Dota 2, Hearthstone, NBA 2K19, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Rainbow Six Siege.

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