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MySpace unfriends 500 staff

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MySpace's workforce is being slashed by half, the struggling website's owner News Corp confirmed yesterday.

Around 500 staff will lose their jobs, said the company's boss Mike Jones.

"These changes were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business, and in no way reflect the performance of the new product," said Jones, who was keen to defend the site's recent revamp as an entertainment portal.

MySpace plans to ink "strategic local partnerships" in the UK, Germany and Australia to help the firm manage ad sales and content in those regions.

Fox Networks will work with MySpace in Blighty, but the company is yet to finalise similar agreements in Oz and Germany.

Last month MySpace finally signed a multi-year search and advertising deal with Google, of which financial terms were not revealed.

MySpace secured a handsome $900m search and keyword services deal with Google in 2006, but it expired in June 2010, sparking speculation that the search giant would ditch the unloved social networking site.

The fact that MySpace scored a new partnership with Google, no matter how paltry, may explain why the company is yet to publicly search for a buyer of the site.

With the announced lay-offs all that could change, but Google's agreement may just have kept MySpace on Rupert Murdoch's lap – for now. ®

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