AOL Sues Bebo

Wants outstanding IT costs paid by its former social network

Why does AOL find it so hard to say goodbye?

It took nearly 10 years for the dial-up company to split with Time Warner following the failed merger, and now AOL executives appear to be showing remorse after jettisoning social networking site, Bebo.com.

Less than a year after Criterion Capital Partners bought Bebo for $10 million (a fraction of the $850 million AOL bought it for), AOL is taking the social network’s new owners to court for IT costs.

AOL, which sold Bebo to Criterion subsidiary, Buckaroo Acquisition, in June 2010, filed suit last week to recoup $150,000 — the cost of IT staff, server rentals and other incidentals that it allowed the company to use for several months after the sale.

AOL refused to comment on why execs were taking such a hard line on a relatively small outstanding debt just a mere 10 months after submitting the bill to Bebo.

Bebo’s owners, who have been said to be one of the companies in the bidding for MySpace, brushed off the lawsuit as a minor quibble.

“I'm confident both sides will agree it was a very smooth and painless transition overall,” a spokesman for Bebo tells Adweek.

“As with any complex deal of this size, there are a few very minor issues still to be resolve, including some outstanding claims for compensation by both parties. What you have here is simply part of the final process of untangling Bebo from its former structure.”