ITV may sell Friends Reunited

Increased competition from Facebook, MySpace

LONDON -- British broadcaster ITV is considering selling the social networking website Friends Reunited, the Sunday Telegraph said, citing sources close to the company.

Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, which has said it is expecting a challenging 2009 as the recession hits advertising budgets, will also cut at least 500 jobs as it seeks to trim costs, the newspaper said.

Friends Reunited, a website that provides a forum for people to contact old school and work friends, caused a buzz when it took off in the early 2000s and was bought by ITV for 175 million pounds in 2005. However, it has struggled to maintain its popularity in the teeth of competition from international sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The Telegraph said plans to dispose of the site and other online operations had not been rubber stamped by ITV's board, but were "firmly on the agenda."

ITV could not be immediately reached for comment.
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