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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 14:24 GMT
Bebo denies 'up for sale' report
Bebo website
Bebo is popular in Britain but less so outside of the US
Social networking site Bebo has refused to comment on a report that it is about to put itself up for sale.

The Times newspaper claims that Bebo, which is particularly popular with UK teenagers, has hired US bank Allen & Co to advise it should a suitor emerge.

The site, founded in 2005, is currently the UK's second most popular social networking site after Facebook, though it has had less success overseas.

The price Microsoft paid for 1.6% of Facebook set Facebook's value at $15bn.

But this price tag is only based on the $240m Microsoft paid for its small stake and some analysts have said that this valuation is purely academic.

Cashing in

Bebo, along with its main rivals Facebook and MySpace, lets users set up personal web pages and communicate with each other.

As the popularity of social networking websites soars, so advertisers have tried to access their growing audiences.

While News Corporation-owned MySpace is winning the battle for users worldwide, it has fallen to third place in Britain, according to December figures from research firm comScore.

Bebo ranked second for that month with 11.2 million unique vistors, and Facebook top with 12.4 million.

But worldwide, Bebo fell down the pecking order, attracting 21.2 million unique visitors, compared with 107 million for MySpace and 97.8 million for Facebook.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp bought MySpace for $580m in July 2005.

But speculation has risen that the media mogul could now be looking to cash in on the site's meteroric growth through a deal with Yahoo, with suggestions that MySpace could fetch between $5bn and $10bn.

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