Investors in talks to buy MySpace majority stake

MySpace: investor group reportedly in acquistion talks with News Corp
MySpace: investor group reportedly in acquistion talks with News Corp

An investor group involving the head of video games publisher Activision Blizzard is believed to be at the forefront of a race to buy a controlling stake in News Corporation's social networking site, MySpace.

According to a report on The Wall Street Journals' technology blog, News Corp is in talks with several bidders, but its favourite is a group that includes Bobby Kotick, the chief executive of Activision Blizzard.

Kotick has gone on record saying that he has been approached about joining the investment group, but said that he has not yet committed, and stressed that Activision was not involved.

News Corp, which wants to offload a chunk of MySpace before the end of its financial year (30 June), is keen to hang on to an approximate 20% stake in the website – so it is after a buyer that it trusts can turn the business around and make it profitable.

News Corp is also being courted by a number of undisclosed bidders, from private equity firms to internet start-ups. In February, it was reported that MySpace could be bought by US-based social mobile network MocoSpace, although no deal materialised.

MySpace – once the king of the social networks until it was usurped by upstart Facebook in 2009 – has 77 million users, compared with the 700 million users boasted by market leader Facebook.

In January, MySpace announced plans to cut 47% of its staff, when it also appointed News Corp-owned Fox Networks to handle its UK advertising sales.

Then in February, when News Corp reported quarterly net profits totalling $675m (£416m), the group said it had taken a $275m hit from a combination of restructuring MySpace, and writing down the goodwill related to its Digital Media Group.

News Corp bought MySpace in 2005 in a $580m deal. Its popularity peaked in 2007, but it has since suffered from the rise of other networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

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