Los Angeles: Media conglomerate News Corporation has sold MySpace to online advertising network Specific Media in a deal valued at $35 million, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
News Corp, based in New York, had acquired the once-dominant social-networking site for $580 million six years ago, before its user base and advertising revenue plunged amid the rise of Facebook.
The agreement with Irvine, California-based Specific Media ends one of the least successful chapters in the history of News Corp, which had been looking for a buyer for the portal for some time.
The change in ownership signifies the start of a layoff process that was announced in January and will affect nearly half of MySpace`s 500 employees.
News Corp acquired MySpace in 2005 at a time when the site had 20 million users, a number that subsequently climbed to more than 76 million in October 2008.
Now, however, MySpace has just 35 million users in the United States, far fewer than Facebook`s 157 million, according to ComScore`s figures.
MySpace`s advertising revenue is projected to total around $180 million in 2011, less than a third of the $605 million the site brought in at its peak.
After News Corp unsuccessfully challenged Facebook`s dominance of the social-networking market for two years, California-based Specific Media said it plans to return MySpace to its roots as a place for music fans to discover new songs and bands.