Friendster bought out in $100m deal

LONDON - Friendster, the social networking site that predated MySpace and Facebook, has been sold to an online payment company called MOL in a deal reportedly worth $100m (£61.4m).

Friendster is still one of the biggest social networking sites in Asia, and available in a number of Asian languages including Vietnamese, Thai and Tagalog. Some 90% of traffic to the site comes from South East Asia.

The deal sees Malaysia-based MOL buying Friendster outright and will merge its operations with MOL to create a distribution and content network.

MOL not only handles online payments but also micropayments for a vast network of stores in South East Asia, including Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Borders, Krispy Kreme, Wendy's and Papa John's Pizza.

Ganesh Kumar Bangah, president and chief executive officer of MOL, said: "The merger with Friendster will continue to transform the social networking industry, combining a highly intuitive and successful social media site and online marketing channel with an integrated payment platform and content network which includes games, goods, gifts, music and video.

"We are creating a unique company that will be well positioned to provide content to a huge, regional user base, here in Southeast Asia."