Twitch acquires social network Bebo for $25M

Bebo, one of the earlier platforms to let people share thoughts and media with their friends, has been acquired by Twitch, the streaming video platform owned by Amazon. Together the two will be working on building out Twitch’s esports business, and specifically Twitch Rivals.

Twitch paid up to $25 million for the company earlier this month, after beating out at least two other bidders, Discord, and… wait for it… Facebook.

Bebo, founded in 2005, was once the UK’s most popular social network, beating both MySpace and Facebook in its prime. AOL bought the company on in March 2008 for $850 million and sold it just two years later. In July 2013, Michael and Xochi Birch, its original founders, bought Bebo back for just $1 million.

Over the past year, Bebo focused on game streaming software and esports events, offering an alternative to the OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) tool that many Twitch streamers use today.

However, when it found that its “streamer tournaments” had become the defining part of its business, the company shut down its general streaming service to Twitch and focused on building a platform for gaming events. It’s this part of the business that Twitch appears to be interested in.

What Twitch Rivals is?

Twitch Rivals is a streamer-driven esports series that pits online personalities against one another. For example, Ubisoftand Twitch partnered to host a Rainbow Six Siege competition at the 2019 E3 videogame convention last week in Los Angeles.

The match featured teams captained by musicians Faheem “T-Pain” Najm and Miles “Lil Yachty” McCollum playing against teams captained by popular Twitch streamers.  Each team battled it out for a $100K total prize pool, half of which went to charity.

The series has thus far hosted close to 60 events with a combined $5M prize pool. In 2019Twitch Rivals is planned to grow to 128 events and expand to additional game genres.

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