Dutch News Publisher Telegraaf Buying Social Network Hyves

Telegraaf Media Group, which publishes De Telegraaf newspaper and Telegraaf.nl in the Netherlands, is buying Hyves, a social network with over 10 million users, in what it says is a move to increase the share of profit it gets from digital media.

A media owner buying a social network? How very mid-2000s. As though echoing News Corp.’s similar acquisition in 2005, Google’s translation of TMG’s announcement mistakenly refers to “Hyves” as “MySpace”.

TMG isn’t naming its price, but says the money is all from existing resources, and it expects Hyves to turn over €20 million for 2010.

Hyves and TMG had already cooperated in recent years, like at its telesport.nl site during the soccer World Cup and using Hyves to take votes in the Baby Of The Year poll through its Sky Radio station.

The publisher says both that it can combine for further synergy and that Hyves’ identity will be preserved, along with its management. The acquisition story is currently leading Telegraaf.nl itself.

Hyves has nine million Dutch members, was founded in 2004 by Raymond Spanjar, Koen Kam and Floris Rost van Tonningen. In 2008, Endemol co-founder Joop van den Ende invested in Hyves to take what was reported to be between 20 and 30 percent of the company, which has expanded to offer payments and games.

Though the likes of Facebook remain ahead of the international, U.S. and UK social networking packs, copycats have taken hold in many European nations, catering to specific linguistic communities. They remain under pressure by the international incumbents pushing at territorial doors and by the take-off of microblogging networks like Twitter.

TechCrunch: “The move follows rumours of another European social network, Nasza Klasa in Poland, being put up for sale. Are Europe’s home-grown social startups finally cashing in their chips before the Facebook juggernaut rolls over their markets? Almost certainly.”