Former Facebook Rival MySpace Sold To Specific Media

By David Cohen Comment

Once a rival and competitor to Facebook, the downward spiral of Myspace is no longer the problem of News Corp., or its Chief Executive Offficer Mike Jones, following Wednesday’s announcement that the social network was acquired by digital media outfit Specific Media.

News Corp. paid $580 million for Myspace in 2005, and it was hoping to sell the site for $100 million, but the media giant settled for $35 million, AllThingsD reported.

Under terms of the deal, News Corp. will take a minority equity stake in Specific, and Jones will leave the company following a transition period of about two months. Jones won’t be the only one leaving, however, as he said in his memo to staff, “In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our workforce.”

An exact number of layoffs remains unknown at this point.

In the press release announcing the deal, outgoing CEO Jones says:

Today, we are announcing that Myspace will be acquired by Specific Media, one of the world’s leading online media and advertising platforms. Over the next few days, you will be hearing from the team at Specific, including their CEO, Tim Vanderhook, regarding their exciting plans for Myspace and how it fits in with the overall vision of their company.

In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our work force. I will assist Specific with the transition over the next two months before departing my role as Myspace CEO.

I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for the incredible experience it has been to lead this company and to work closely with all of you over the past several years. While I regret that we won’t be working together at Myspace any longer, I am very proud of the work we have done here and believe we have performed with excellence — even under extremely difficult circumstances.

My time here at Myspace represents the most engaging and challenging time of my professional career. I have found our team to be comprised of the best people I have come across in our industry.

Specific’s CEO Vanderhook added in the release:

Myspace is a recognized leader that has pioneered the social media space. The company has transformed the ways in which audiences discover, consume, and engage with content online. There are many synergies between our companies, as we are both focused on enhancing digital media experiences by fueling connections with relevance and interest. We look forward to combining our platforms to drive the next generation of digital innovation.

The Wall Street Journal speculated that Specific pursued Myspace so it could mine the social network’s user data for ad targeting, adding that two Specific executives previously worked at Fox Audience Network, the News Corp. online advertising unit that sold ads for Myspace.

Readers, do you think Specific Media will be able to turn MySpace around and restore it to the status of a real Facebook competitor?