Murdoch ditches MySpace at a massive loss

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has finally got rid of the albatross that was MySpace, the once-king of social networking that found itself destined for the scrapheap as Facebook took over.

News Corp. sold MySpace to Specific Media for an undisclosed sum, although a report from AllThingsD claims that it received somewhere in the region of $35 million for the site and its staff. While that's a reasonable chunk of change it leaves Murdoch in the hole after he splashed out a whopping $580 million to buy the site and its owner Internix Media back in 2005.

"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," claimed Specific Media's chief exec Tim Vanderhook.

"There are many synergies between our companies as we are both focused on enhancing digital media experiences by fueling connections with relevance and interest," claimed Vanderhook. "We look forward to combining our platforms to drive the next generation of digital innovation."

Interestingly, Vanderhook has decided to take a hands-off approach to his latest acquisition and is instead leaving pop star Justin Timberlake in charge. Yes, you read that right.

"As part of the deal, Emmy and Grammy winning artist Justin Timberlake will also take an ownership stake and play a major role in developing the creative direction and strategy for the company moving forward," a company spokesperson confirmed earlier today. "Specific Media and Timberlake plan to unveil their vision for the site in an exclusive press conference later this summer."

With MySpace failing to convince fans that it has anything to offer over Facebook - and with Google having launched its own social networking play, Google+, yesterday - it's hard to see how Vanderhook and Timberlake will turn the company's fortunes around.