Radio One, Inc. has acquired Community Connect (CCI) and its subsidiary social network BlackPlanet.com for $38 million. That's about $812 million less than Time Warner paid to acquire Bebo, which, according to a January report from metrics firm Hitwise, is the US's next most popular social network. Bebo claims 1.09 percent of all US traffic to BlackPlanet's 1.04 percent. ComScore reports that Bebo has a much stronger international audience than BlackPlanet (chart below), but it's not 22-times stronger. Like a Craigslist casual encounter, this smells like a screwing. So who got the shaft — Time Warner or Community Connect?
Probably both. Remember: In purchasing Bebo at an expensive price/earnings to growth ratio of 2.38, AOL CEO Randy Falco landed what News Corp., Google, Yahoo, CBS and most of Falco's own executives didn't want. But with valuations for widget makers reaching multiples of what he sold his company for, we have to ask, didn't CCI president and founder Ben Sun grossly undersell the black demographic?