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Digital Rupert’s bumper $545m loss

MySpace sold to Specific Media with Timberlake as star investor

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The very expensive, sorry tale of how to turn a cool digital business into a boring corporate leper has ended with a painful US$545 million loss for News Corp and perhaps a chance at resurrection for MySpace.

Following a prolonged sale process the social network has been sold for a bargain $35 million, to digital ad network Specific Media. MySpace CEO Mike Jones issued a widely distributed internal email to the ‘myspacers’ along with the official press release confirming the transaction.

Jones also confirmed that massive job cuts lie ahead for the 500 staff, which he will help the new owners with as they transition over the next two months. He will then leave the company.

“My time at MySpace represents the most engaging and challenging time of my professional career,” he said. He added that over the next few days Specific’s CEO Tim Vanderhook, will be detailing their “exciting plans” for MySpace and how it fits in with the overall vision of their company.

In a special life-parodying-art feature, it has also emerged that Justin Timberlake is taking a minority stake and role in the new MySpace. Clearly taking his role as Sean Parker in The Social Network to heart, Timberlake said “I’m excited to help revitalize MySpace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community.”

He will help develop the creative direction and strategy of the company but did not disclose what his financial stake was.

In a statement on his website Timberlake said: “There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment.”

Specific Media was founded in 1999 by brothers Tim, Chris and Russell Vanderhook, and has offices across the US and Europe. ®

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