updated 03:45 pm EDT, Tue March 16, 2010
Murdoch said desperate to unload MySpace
(Update: statement received) News Corp. is frantically trying to sell MySpace, a short but potentially major rumor maintained this afternoon. Company head Rupert Murdoch is said by SAI to be "desperately" looking for a buyer and has been talking to private equity firms as possible candidates. The social network would be tentatively valued at $700 million.
MySpace has been contacted for comment but hasn't had an opportunity to respond as of press time.
The deal, while unverified and possibly inaccurate, would potentially have its roots in the service's relative decline within the past two years. Facebook has not only overtaken MySpace by a significant margin but in the past few days has at least temporarily passed Google in sheer traffic volume. It has tried to position itself as a media service with both MySpace Music as well as buyouts of iLike and iMeem, but the deals have had little effect as visitors either use services on Facebook or conventional pay-to-download services like iTunes. The firm has also been chastised for a relatively modest mobile strategy where Facebook has been praised for its presence on smartphone plaforms like Android and iPhone.
Compounding the issues are the possibly forced exit of former CEO Owen van Natta as well as other executive departures, all of which have left the company focused on stabilizing its leadership rather than improving the site.
Update: A News Corp. spokesperson has told Electronista that the rumor is false. The company "is committed to MySpace and is not seeking a buyer," the representative said.