Friendster to be acquired for $100 Million
Reuters is reported last Friday that Friendster will be acquired by end of December for a nice sum of $100 Million. The buyer is an Asian publicly listed firm but was not named.
Coincidentally, Friendster also launched their new website with a new logo and design last Friday. It makes sense that an Asian company would buy Friendster, considering that majority of the 100 Million Friendster users are from this part of the region.
Besides, the dynamics of social networking in Asia is a bit different that in the west. In Japan, it’s Mixi; in Korea, it’s CyWorld; and in China, QQ is huge (made $500+ million dollars in 2007 alone). In the Philippines, Friendster is still a strong contender next to Facebook. Friendster gets a significant share in online ad spending in the Philippines. Smart and a number of call center companies are big advertisers on Friendster. It also has GCash for online remittance (big on OFWs).
Friendster is shifting its monetization strategy from advertising to micro-transactions — buying and sending virtual gifts to friends. This model has worked great for Cyworld and QQ so hopefully, Friendster would do good as well.
Here’s a presentation by Benjamin Joffe, Managing Director at Asia Internet consultancy +8* and Co-Founder of MobileMonday Beijing, during last year’s Media 08 event:
Friendsters’ $100 million price tag might be small change compared to Facebook’s $10 billion valuation, but at least it’s already cashing in. I remember Google wanting to buy Friendster for $30 million back in the 2003.
Update: It’s official, Malaysian company MOL buys Friendster for undisclosed sum:
Iâ€™d like to share the following news from Friendster.
Friendster has just announced that it has been acquired by MOL Global Pte. Ltd., an affiliate of leading online payment solutions provider MOL AccessPortal Berhad based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Friendster and MOL Global have entered into a definitive agreement under which MOL Global will acquire 100% of Friendster, Inc. Following the acquisition, the operations of MOL and Friendster will be combined to create Asia’s largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network, pairing MOL’s offline retail channel partners and payment platform with Friendster’s large online footprint, social network and user community in Asia.
This release is currently being distributed and syndicated throughout the US, Southeast Asia, and globally.
Director, Global Product