News Corp unloads MySpace to Specific Media for $35 mn

MUMBAI: In a deal valued at $35 million, media conglomerate News Corporation has sold MySpace to online advertising network Specific Media.

News Corp had acquired MySpace in 2005 for $580 million when the site had 20 million users. The subscriber base subsequently grew to more than 76 million in October 2008. But the emergence of stronger rivals like Facebook forced the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company to find a buyer.

 News Corp. will retain less than 5 per cent stake in the site, it is understood.

 The change in ownership signifies the start of a layoff process that will affect about half of MySpace‘s 500 employees.

On the other hand, Specific Media has teamed up with actor and pop star Justin Timberlake to rebuild and reinvigorate Myspace by making it a place to consume media and connect with entertainers. Incidentally, Timberlake invested an undisclosed amount in the company.

 After News Corp unsuccessfully challenged Facebook‘s dominance of the social-networking market for two years, California-based Specific Media said it plans to return MySpace to its roots as a place for music fans to discover new songs and bands.

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