AOL: Please Give Us (A Little) More Than $2.5 Million for Bebo

Lots of chatter today about how AOL is nearing a deal to sell social network Bebo to Criterion Capital Partners, as first disclosed in a (since-deleted) tweet by WSJ reporter Anupreeta Das.

Preeta and her colleagues are on the money with this one, and we’ve got a few more nuggets to move the story forward:

Timing: I’m told the deal is being done today. Not sure if that means the agreement is being signed or the transaction is closing. Either way, I reached Criterion boss Adam Levin via phone, who said: “I can’t speak now, but will be able to tell you anything you want to know tomorrow.”

Pricing: A source tells me that Criterion was the only bidder, offering just $2.5 million. AOL told them to bulk it up a bit, and my source says he would be surprised if it got above $5 million (btw: I trust this source, because he told me over a month ago that AOL was in talks to sell Bebo to someone in Southern California — all I could guess was Saban or Demand Media, but I dropped it after they both denied involvement and an AOL source said my info was premature).

Whether the final price is $3 million or $5 million or $8 million, it’s still a massive loss for AOL, which bought Bebo two years ago from venture capitalists for $850 million.