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Bebo owner could offer last minute SeeSaw reprieve

The company behind social networking site Bebo is preparing to buy the struggling UK online TV platform SeeSaw, according to various press reports.

Arqiva had planned to close the platform, which it acquired from BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 for £8 million (€9 million) after the UK’s Competition Commission blocked the proposed online VOD service, known at the time as Project Kangaroo, in 2009. The company told the 28 SeeSaw staff last month that it had failed to find a buyer or investment partner and launched a 30-day consultation. However, Bebo owner, US investment outfit Criterion Capital Partners, is understood to be finalising a deal to buy the platform.

The company, headed by Adam Levine, acquired Bebo last June for a reported price of $10 million (€7 million) and could use SeeSaw as a springboard to launch a pan-European online TV and movie service. According to The Telegraph, former Channel 4 chief Michael Jackson, who runs Bebo for Criterion, is believed to have been recruited to breathe fresh life into SeeSaw.

When it launched last February, SeeSaw struck deals with Channel 4, Five and had access to limited BBC content and certain films. It offered over 3,000 hours of free programming but suffered from the lack of a major BBC deal and offered no ITV content.

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