NEW YORK (
is close to selling
, its social-networking site, to a private investment firm for a price well below what it was bought for, a report says.
A deal could be announced as soon as Thursday.
AOL is in final negotiations to sell Bebo for a fraction of the $850 million it paid for the site two years ago, the
Wall Street Journal
reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The buyer is Criterion Capital Partners of Studio City, Calif., the newspaper reports. The firm, which specializes in turning around companies with revenue between $3 million and $30 million, has been actively pursuing technology and media acquisitions, this person said.
reports exact terms of the deal couldn't be learned, but one person said it was "an exceptionally uninspiring number" with almost total "value destruction."
Bebo's audience has steadily declined in the U.S. It had 5 million unique U.S. visitors in May, down 44% from the same period last year, according to comScore. Facebook had 130.4 million unique U.S. visitors.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.
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