MySpace to cut two-thirds of global workforce

NEW YORK Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:55am EDT

A screengrab taken on June 16, 2009 shows MySpace.com. REUTERS/MySpace.com

A screengrab taken on June 16, 2009 shows MySpace.com.

Credit: Reuters/MySpace.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - MySpace, the social networking website owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, said on Tuesday it plans to cut about two-thirds of its international workforce and close at least four of its offices outside the United States.

The proposed restructuring plan would reduce MySpace's international staff to about 150 people from 450, the company said in a statement.

The planned cuts come on top of MySpace's announcement last week that it was reducing its U.S. staff by about 30 percent to 1,000 people, saying its staffing levels were "bloated" and had hurt its ability to be efficient and nimble.

Roughly half of MySpace's total user base comes from outside the United States. Rival Facebook's worldwide user base is more than double that of MySpace, according to market researcher comScore.

"As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace's staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions," MySpace Chief Executive Owen Van Natta said in a statement.

News Corp appointed Van Natta, formerly Facebook's chief operating officer, in April to replace MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe.

Under the proposed plan, MySpace would place its existing offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and Spain under review for possible restructuring.

Upon completion, London, Berlin and Sydney would become primary regional hubs for MySpace's international operations.

MySpace China, a locally owned, operated and managed company, and MySpace's joint venture in Japan will not be affected by the proposed plan, the company said.

MySpace, which currently has 15 international offices, declined to comment on specific staffing levels in each region.

(Reporting by Franklin Paul and S. John Tilak; editing by Tiffany Wu and Maureen Bavdek)