Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is to flog what's left of ailing social network Myspace, and hopes to attract bids of more than $100 million from half a dozen private equity firms by the end of this week.
The Wall Street Journal - owned, coincidentally, by naturalised American Murdoch's News Corp - cites the ever-talkative 'people familiar with the matter', who reveal that among the potential bidders for Myspace are private equity firms Thomas H Lee Partners and Redscout Ventures.
Also said to be in the running are Criterion Capital Partners LLC, owners of teenage social networking site Bebo.
The WSJ also disclosed that News Corp had also been in talks with a Chinese Internet company about a potential deal for the site.
Talk of a Myspace sale has been circulating for months, but the pool of bidders has dried up somewhat since News Corp opened its books to potential candidates in February. Among those who showed an initial interest was online streaming music video site Vevo, but since then its enthusiasm is said to have cooled.
Myspace, which blends social networking with entertainment via an on-site music player, was once seen as a must-visit destination for music lovers. The site was used by unsigned bands as a platform for gaining wider recognition. Among the acts 'made' by MySpace are popsters Lily Allen, Kate Nash and one-hit wonder-how-on-Earth-that-happened, Sandi Thom.
News Corp paid $580 million when it bought Myspace in 2005, but like fellow also-ran community site Friendster, the site has been accused of failing to capitalise on the potential of social networking.
Audiences have dwindled as the site has been overtaken by the likes of Facebook. By March this year, traffic on Myspace had dropped 49 per cent on the previous year to 36.1 million unique visitors in the US - the lowest monthly figure for the site since February 2006, according to analysts ComScore.
The division of News Corp that owns Myspace reported an operating loss of $156 million for the last quarter of 2010, chiefly due to the poor performance of the site.