A handful of venture capital firms and other companies are expected to make News Corp offers for one of its most disappointing properties: MySpace.
News Corp declared it was ready to sell MySpace in an earnings call last February. At that time, in spite of significant layoffs and a massive redesign, the company “recorded a $275 million pre-tax charge for the impairment of goodwill related to the Digital Media Group and an organizational restructuring at MySpace.”
Now, The Wall Street Journal, which shares a parent company with the faltering social network, is reporting that News Corp is attempting to get at least $100 million out of the sale. It names Redscout Ventures, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and Criterion Capital Partners LLC , which also owns Bebo, as potential buyers.
News Corp purchased MySpace in 2005 for $580 million. At that time, the year-and-a-half-old Facebook hadn’t even acquired the Facebook.com URL and recorded a net loss of $3.63 million for the year. Even as late as 2007, Facebook’s traffic was disappointing when compared to traffic on MySpace.
But all that changed quickly. MySpace users began abandoning ship for Facebook, and in late 2009, site traffic took a dive from which it never really recovered. By 2010, even relative upstart Twitter was getting more traffic than MySpace.
Even though the network has pivoted to become an entertainment destination (in a nod to the bands and filmmakers that have clung to the platform out of habit or necessity), MySpace is still losing ground in these creative industries.
We’ll continue to keep an ear to the ground for MySpace news. Do you think News Corp will find a bidder to meet its $100 million asking price?