AOL Finalizes Bebo Acquisition

AOL has finalized its acquisition of Bebo. The social networking number three will form the centerpiece of AOL’s newly created People Networks business unit.

Announced today, Bebo’s CEO Joanna Shields will serve as Executive Vice President of AOL and President of People Networks, which combines Bebo, AIM, ICQ and AOL’s other community platforms. Shields will report to AOL President and COO Ron Gran.

People Networks will integrate AOL’s IM, chat and mail functionality into Bebo, as well as letting users merge AIM and Bebo profiles so they can use common screen names without re-registering.

People Networks will also integrate other AOL acquisitions, including widget technology company Goowy Media and social search question and answer service Yedda. AOL plans also include the cross-distribution of AOL and Bebo content and applications across both services.