Has AOL Already Lost $1.2 Billion in 2010?

Lost moneyBetween March and June of 2010 we’ve read the news of AOL getting rid of an affiliate network, a popular instant messaging  computer program, and just the day before yesterday they also sold a social network. None of these were AOL’s own developments, but were acquired by the company at some point of time in the past.

Not much fiscal information was disclosed to the public on two of these three acquisitions, but judging by numerous other sources, here is what the situation appears to look like on the financial level:

  1. Buy.at (affiliate network) — acquired by AOL in 2008 for $125 million; sold to Digital Window (United Kingdom) in March 2010 for $17 million [source] = $108 million loss
  2. ICQ (instant messager) — acquired by AOL in  June 1998 for $407 million; sold to Digital Sky Technologies (Russia) in April 2010 for $187.5 million [source] = $219.5 million loss
  3. Bebo (social network) — acquired by AOL  in March 2008 for $850 million [source]; sold to Criterion Capital Partners in on 17 June 2010 for a range of $2.5 to $5 million [source] = ~$845 million loss

The sum total of losses on the above three acquisitions comes to a mind-boggling amount of some $1.2 billion.


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