SUN VALLEY (Reuters) News Corp digital chief Jonathan Miller said on Wednesday his company is not in talks to sell its once popular social networking site MySpace and described reports of any discussions as “fabrications.”
“We are definitely not in any ongoing talks for a sale of MySpace,” he said on the sidelines of the Allen & Co organized media conference.
Miller said News Corp is planning another reinvention of the beleaguered site with a relaunch expected later this year. A year ago News Corp executives talked about relaunching the site as an entertainment focused site.
Although MySpace has focused more on entertainment such as music, it has steadily seen its visitor numbers drop.
It has also lost several top executives including co-president Jason Hirschhorn last month. Hirschhorn, with fellow co-president Mike Jones, replaced former CEO Owen Van Natta just four months earlier.
News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch famously beat rival media companies in a race to buy MySpace in 2005 for $580 million.
At the time of the deal MySpace was one of the fastest growing Web properties adding millions of users within a few months. But in the last two years it has lost momentum to fast-growing rivals like Facebook and Twitter and has become something of an albatross around Murdoch’s neck.
Murdoch has repeatedly denied any plans to sell MySpace.
One factor that could decide whether a sale materializes will be whether MySpace can attract another lucrative potential search advertising deal similar to the three-year $900 million deal it struck with Google Inc in 2006.
That deal expires in August according to reports and new talks are reported to have started, according to the Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp.
But it is not expected that MySpace will come close to the Google deal that was struck at the top of the advertising market.
Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe