News Corp. (NWSA) is in talks to hand over control of Myspace to Vevo.com, the online music website partly owned by the world’s biggest record companies, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
The talks are preliminary and an agreement may not be reached, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Under the scenario being discussed, News Corp. would exchange the Myspace social network for a stake in a new venture, the people said. Vevo.com is one of several parties looking at Myspace, two of the people said.
Vevo.com, which offers advertising-supported music videos, could draw on Myspace music assets, including artist and fan pages, the people said. Vevo was introduced in December 2009 and is owned by Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media Co. Sony Corp. (6758) and Universal Music also are investors in Myspace Music, the part of the social network that streams songs online.
Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for New York-based News Corp., declined to comment, as did Jennifer Press, a spokeswoman for New York-based Vevo.
News Corp. hired the New York-based investment bank Allen & Co. to evaluate offers for the social-networking website, with a goal of concluding a deal before the fiscal year ends in June, the people said. News Corp. is seeking responses in the next several weeks, they said.
No. 5 Video Site
Vevo is the Web’s fifth-biggest video destination in the U.S. with 45.9 million visitors in February, according to ComScore Inc., an Internet researcher based in Reston, Virginia. The website would gain control of Myspace as part of a wider agreement with News Corp., owner of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio and Fox broadcast network, the people said.
News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, gained 7 cents to $17.09 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The Class A shares have climbed 17 percent this year.
Myspace’s worldwide traffic shrank 29 percent to 62.6 million visitors in February from 88 million in October 2010, when News Corp. introduced a redesigned website and a new focus on entertainment, according to ComScore.
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