Yahoo Looks at Bebo

Yahoo Inc. is rumoured to be working on an attempted takeover of Bebo, Britain's most popular social networking site, and is thought to be willing to pay as much as $1 billion for the site, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph newpaper. Bebo has raised VC funding from Benchmark Capital

The site, which was founded in 2005, has since grown into one of the biggest meeting places on the internet, alongside MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The newspaper said the possible bid comes amid a flurry of internet-related deals, which culminated last week with Microsoft Corp's 6 bln usd acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising technology business.

News Corporation paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005, in a deal that first drew the market's attention to the social networking phenomenon. Google paid $1.76 billion for YouTube, the internet home video site, last November.

Bebo has around 25 mln users worldwide, compared with MySpace's 100 mln or so registered users. The company is rumoured to have turned down an offer from BT Group worth about 300 mln usd last summer.

Viacom, the US media giant which was outbid for MySpace, is also believed to have made an offer last year.