On Wednesday it was announced that MySpace, once a bastion for music on the web, would be sold for $35 million to an Irvine, California-based digital advertising network named Specific Media. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005, will take a jaw-dropping loss on the deal.
News Corp. has long been frustrated with the decline of MySpace, though they have made various efforts to save the site. Last November, MySpace “mashed up” with Facebook, which let Facebook users log in to MySpace with their Facebook account. That move was seen in a large part as throwing a white flag in the social network battle. MySpace hoped it could instead reinvent itself as an entertainment portal for music, video, and photos.
But, alas, that effort seems to have met with little success, and reports began circling earlier this year that News Corp. was looking for a buyer around $100 million. Instead, Specific Media ponied up about a third of that target price, in a deal that’s said to be mainly in stock.
While the name Specific Media won’t be familiar to many people, there is one catch to the deal that’s sure to turn a few heads. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer and actor Justin Timberlake is also taking a stake in the MySpace deal.
Timberlake seems to have taken his Social Network character Sean Parker to heart. The actor spent time with Parker while preparing for the role and perhaps some of Parker’s tech mojo has rubbed off on the celeb-turned-web entrepreneur.
In a statement, Timberlake says, “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. MySpace has the potential to be that place. Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment. I’m excited to help revitalize MySpace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community.”