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Balderton Capital to Sell its Stake in Bebo

London (ots/PRNewswire)

- Proceeds of US$140 Million Represent Nine Times Original
Balderton Capital, the leading European venture capital firm, is
pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to sell its
15.7% stake in Bebo ( to AOL, which is to acquire
the global social media network. The proceeds of the sale due to
Balderton Capital are approximately US$140 million, more than nine
times the original sum invested.
These returns make Bebo one of the most successful European
internet investments of recent years. Another Balderton investment,
MySQL, the fast-growing open source database company, was recently
sold to Sun Microsystems for a price of approximately US$1 billion.
Balderton Capital is the only institutional investor in Bebo. It
provided first-round financing of US$15 million in May 2006 to assist
Bebo to develop its business model. Balderton has been Bebo's
strategic partner, assisting the company to become the leading
networking site in the UK and Ireland and one of the largest social
networks worldwide. Founded in 2005 in California, Bebo has 11
million unique users in the UK alone, and more than 40 million
members in total.
Barry Maloney, one of the partners in Balderton Capital, and a
director of Bebo since May 2006, said: "We got involved in an
exciting and competitive investment in Bebo because we believed in
the social networking space and the fact that Bebo was positioned for
exponential growth. Our expectations for Bebo have been exceeded in a
relatively short period of time, and today's transaction with AOL has
delivered an exceptional return on our original investment in 2006.
"We wish the company continued success under its new ownership,
and would like to congratulate the founders Michael and Xochi Birch,
Joanna Shields, President of Bebo, and her management team. We are
pleased that Joanna will continue to run the business for AOL, one of
the world's great media companies.
"This investment is what Balderton does best: back entrepreneurs
with cash and expertise, working in partnership to help to develop
the founders' dreams and to deliver great returns for stakeholders."
About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is one of Europe's largest venture capital
firms, committed to finding and helping talented entrepreneurs build
great companies. Based in London, it manages approximately US$ 1.5
billion in committed venture capital.
Since 2000, Balderton has invested in over 70 companies across a
wide variety of technology sectors and geographies, including
throughout Europe, and in the US and China. Notable investments
include Bebo (the leading social networking site), Betfair (online
betting exchange), Codemasters (video games developer and publisher),
Habbo Hotel (teen social networking site), MySQL (open-source
database business) and Setanta Sports (the European sports


For more information, please contact: UK and international media:
Powerscourt (PR adviser to Balderton Capital), Rory Godson/Paul
Durman/Keith Brookbank, Phone: +44-207-250-1446; Irish media, Drury
Communications, Paddy Hughes/Billy Murphy, Phone: +353-1-260-5000