AOL needs to offload Bebo fast. And tax experts say that the best financial result for AOL may be to simply abandon Bebo rather than sell it. All of that makes for a rather awkward situation with Bebo partners.
How do you handle that awkwardness? Send out a mass email to all open media partners to explain the situation:
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM
Subject: Important News From Bebo
Dear Open Media Partners,
First, I’d like to thank you for your support of Bebo.
The end of last year brought with it many changes to our business, both difficult and exciting, including the successful spin-out of our parent company AOL and a new strategic direction. Set out in May 2009 this strategy leverages AOL’s core strengths and scale in quality content, premium advertising and consumer applications, positioning it for the next phase of growth of the Internet.
We also made a commitment to keep the lines of communication open as we worked to arrive at a strategic resolution for Bebo and today I’m reaching out to let you know that in an annual filing for Bebo made this week, AOL indicated that it is currently evaluating strategic alternatives with respect to the Bebo business, which could include a sale or shutdown of Bebo in 2010.
Social networking remains a space with heavy competition, where scale defines success, and unfortunately AOL is not in a position to further fund and support Bebo in pursuing a turnaround in social networking.
The decision to move forward at this point on Bebo was not made lightly and AOL is committed to working quickly to determine if there are any interested parties for Bebo. The company’s current expectation is to complete our strategic evaluation by the end of May 2010 and we hope that by sharing what we can, when we can, it helps to relieve any uncertainty about what’s ahead.
In the interim I wanted to assure you of our continued commitment to your organization and we will come back to you as soon as we are able to move forward.