Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has sold MySpace to a California advertising network for a small fraction of what it paid in 2005, media sources said Wednesday.
Specific Media, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., places advertising online, the Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper quoted a source as saying the company offered $35 million for MySpace, and News Corp., which had hoped for $100 million, accepted.
MySpace was the first social networking site and was once dominant. But Facebook now has many times more users.
News Corp. paid $580 million for MySpace, a move the company hoped would help it expand into digital media. At one point MySpace was valued at about a billion dollars, but the number of users, 76.3 million in 2008, has dropped steadily since then to 35 million in May, ComScore Digital Analytix reports.
The Times said Justin Timberlake, who appeared in the movie about Facebook "The Social Network," has agreed to participate in an effort to change MySpace's image.
Michael Birch, who founded the Bebo social network, told the Times News Corp. was too focused on the bottom line.
"The problem with MySpace was that it was never as strong a product as it needed to be," Birch said. "It left itself vulnerable to competition. It was only a matter of time before someone created something bigger."