Update: AOL Buying KickApps Too?

AOL, fresh off its $850 million purchase of social network Bebo, is now eyeing KickApps, a white-label social software company, reports Kara Swisher. Her sources peg the deal price at around $90 million. The deal hasn’t been inked just yet. KickApps, based in New York, has raised $17 million from Softbank Capital, Prism VentureWorks and Spark Capital. I contacted one of their investors but he wouldn’t comment on the rumor.

Update: As an aside, KickApps CEO Alex Blum is an ex-AOLer. I checked with my sources and it seems like AOL isn’t the only candidate looking at KickApps and the $90 million number isn’t even close to what company wants. Given that they have raised $17 million, KickApps must have a valuation of $40-50 million, and their investors must be looking for at least 3x return on their money.

When I asked AOL COO Ron Grant if AOL was going to be doing any more deals soon, he declined to comment but said the company will be “aggressive.” I have heard from multiple sources that AOL is kicking the tires at many Silicon Valley startups. From the looks of it, Time Warner is ready to spend to do a complete makeover of AOL. Call it dressing up before a spinoff, regardless of what happens with Yahoo.

GigaOM Interview: AOL’s COO Ron Grant on the Bebo Buy

This morning after AOL said it would spend $850 million to buy social networking site Bebo, I had a chance to chat with Ron Grant, AOL’s chief operating officer. What follows is an edited version of our conversation.

OM: Why Bebo?

GRANT: Bebo is one of the best social media companies out there. They are more than a one-dimensional company, and they have embraced their social media space. Three things attracted us — it is utilitarian and has a high level of engagement, its rich media aspect, and their ability to understand marketing and engagement marketing.

Read More about GigaOM Interview: AOL’s COO Ron Grant on the Bebo Buy