Liquida, an Italian user generated content based blog aggregator owned by RGB srl, a Banzai Group company, has acquired one of the most popular memetrackers and blog directories in Italy, BlogBabel, for an undisclosed sum.
BlogBabel was put up for sale on August 30th by its founder and CEO, Ludovico Magnocavallo, who set up an auction on Ebay starting at €4999,00 (approx. $7300 USD), that would have given the winner the domain name, exclusive ownership of much of the code, and most of all more than 30Gb of database content (that is more than 3 years of indexed posts).
But the auction was closed in advance, on September 8th, because of Banzai Group’s interest not only in acquiring the site’s code and domain, but also in beginning a stronger collaboration between the two teams, Magnocavallo reported on his blog. It was also confirmed that he will keep an important role in the future of the site. When the auction was closed, the highest bid was €40,150.
The deal, and especially the unusual way it followed to come to an end, has raised a number of comments in the Italian blogosphere. Many of them criticized Magnocavallo’s choice to put the site on Ebay and then removing it, when it could have been a great show to see how far from the starting price such a service could go, and a good test-bed for the Italian web’s maturity. He replied that he chose to give up with the auction just because the deal with Liquida was more than a mere buying and selling, including long term perspectives and chances to grow BlogBabel itself, even after rebranding.
With BlogBabel’s integration Liquida will now try to get some international exposure, and has recently launched an english version of the site that currently indexes about 9,500 blogs and 358,000 posts. This is not the first important acquisition in the Italian market for Banzai, which now controls more than 20 companies.