News Corp. Hustling to Finalize MySpace Sale

With an investor group that includes Activision CEO Bobby Kotick out of the picture, a report calls advertising network Specific Media and private equity firm Golden Gate Capital the top contenders.

NEW YORK - News Corp. is looking to close a sale of MySpace by Thursday, which marks the end of its fiscal year, sources said Tuesday in confirming a report by AllThingsD.

The site, owned by News Corp., said that an investor group, which includes Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and which was in the lead, ran into unspecified legal and other complexities.

AllThingsD called advertising network Specific Media the latest frontrunner with private equity firm Golden Gate Capital also a top contender. Both companies are expected to focus MySpace on music, which it has concentrated on along with other fields of entertainment.

An investor group that includes MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson, one that includes fellow co-founder Chris DeWolfe, and Criterion Capital Partners, which bought social network Bebo from AOL, are among the other bidders for MySpace, according to Tuesday's report.

AllThingsD said current offers for MySpace are in the $20 million to $30 million range, but a News Corp. insider said the figure would be higher. The conglomerate is looking for any deal to be paid in a combination of stock and cash, that person said. News Corp. has also said it may keep a small stake in MySpace. News Corp. acquired the site for $580 million in 2005.

Meanwhile, MySpace is widely expected to make significant staff cuts in connection with the sale. AllThingsD mentioned staff and cost cuts could amount to "up to 50 percent or more."

News Corp. declined comment.