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Bebo, the most kiddie-centric of the leading social networks, has cut a deal with Yahoo! to match profiles with targeted display advertising.

The deal covers Bebo's biggest two markets: the UK and Ireland, where it claims close to 11 million users. Yahoo!'s job will be to flog banner ad inventory - traditionally its strong suit - and share an undisclosed cut of the cash with Bebo. Microsoft acts in a similar way for Facebook, while Google is responsible for both display and text ads on MySpace.

Bebo will still provide advertisers with "engagement marketing campaigns", which is its description for advertorial.

The arrangement strengthens ties between the pair. Yahoo! won the contract to provide Bebo with search facilities in May, which was extended as part of the pair's latest joint announcement. Yahoo! will also get to promote its Answers service to Bebo kids.

Unconfirmed reports in the press earlier this year, prior to Terry Semel hitting eject on the Yahoo! CEO seat, whispered that a $1bn acquisition was in the works, but it never materialised. ®

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