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Amazon-owned Twitch just acquired social app Bebo, amidst growing antitrust scrutiny

Bebo's recent focus on esports has made it valuable for Twitch.
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Bebo, the social network which was once a credible competitor to Facebook is now owned by Twitch, which is owned by Amazon. Twitch has acquired Bebo for building Twitch’s esports business, more specifically Twitch Rivals.

While Twitch confirmed the acquisition that included around ten employees, and intellectual property, it had however declined to comment any further.

It was revealed that the company was bought out for a price of less than $25 million earlier this month. It was also revealed that Discord was one of the bidders for acquiring Bebo.

Bebo suffered through many failed acquisitions in the past. It was initially founded in 2005 as an early social networking site and quickly established itself as a market leader in countries such as Ireland and the UK. It was then acquired by AOL for nearly $850 million in 2008. However, things didn’t pan out as AOL planned and Bebo could not build on its early traction.

The deal turned out to be a failure and Bebo was then sold to Criterion Capital for $25 million less than two years after it was acquired by AOL. In an era where giants such as MySpace collapsed in front of Facebook and Instagram, Bebo stood no chance either. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the original founders then acquired it for $1 million in 2013 with a pledge of reinventing it.

Shan Puri then headed a small team and worked on a number of ideas in the search for a profitable venture for Bebo. In its final pivot, Bebo initially tried streaming services for esports players. As it seemed to face tough competition from giants such as OBS and Xsplit, it then shifted to a model where it organized and ran tournaments for streamers by offering leagues and more. While the streams ran on Twitch, Bebo organized the viewers, leagues, and more.

Right when the efforts in esports started to pan out for Bebo, Twitch acquired the company and put Bebo’s tech team into developing Twitch Rivals for expanding it and adding more features.

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