Bebo Sold To Criterion; Armstrong’s Staff Memo; Tax Gain For AOL

Per Wednesday’s speculation, LA private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners has confirmed it’s buying social network Bebo from AOL.

Criterion isn’t disclosing any deal terms or price, which has been reported at $2.5 million by PEHub or $10 million by TechCrunch, two years after AOL bought Bebo for $850 million.

Criterion’s announcement: “The acquisition and financing was lead by Adam Levin, managing partner at CCP, in partnership with accomplished business strategist Paul Abramowitz and web entrepreneur Richard Hecker. CCP will take over Bebo’s global operations immediately and retain a San Francisco-based headquarters.”

Levin: “The young, highly active user base, revenue history, presence in countries throughout the world and solid technical infrastructure make it an attractive media platform both as a standalone entity and in the context of our broader investment objectives.”

The specific mention of Bebo’s San Francisco office, but not its London office, where it has a similar number of staff, may concern workers at the latter.

Note that if the kind of prices being reported are accurate, they would be plenty less than what another tired social net, UK-only Friends Reunited, fetched, when ITV sold it to a small genealogy site operator for £25 million last year, four years after buying it for £170 million.

Here is the memo AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent to staff this morning…

“In April we communicated the fact that Bebo was among the assets we would be not be keeping as part of our main portfolio of businesses. At that time, we indicated that we hoped to finish our strategic evaluation by the end of May, which we did. Today we are announcing that we completed the sale of substantially all of the assets of Bebo, Inc. to Criterion Capital Partners, LLC.

“This sale is important for Bebo