News Corp taps Allen & Co for MySpace interest - sources

NEW YORK Fri Feb 4, 2011 7:03pm EST

News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch listens to morning discussion session during the Wall Street Journal CEO Council on ''Rebuilding Global Prosperity'' in Washington, November 17, 2009.  REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang/Files

News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch listens to morning discussion session during the Wall Street Journal CEO Council on ''Rebuilding Global Prosperity'' in Washington, November 17, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - News Corp has tapped Allen & Co to field buyout interest for MySpace and has heard from about 50 parties, people familiar with the process told Reuters on Friday.

The global media conglomerate is considering a handful of options for the future of MySpace, the once-hot Internet social network that has fallen far behind faster moving rival Facebook.

One source close to the process said an auction for MySpace has not started yet.

Justin Siegel, chief executive of JNJ Mobile, owner of MocoSpace, said on Friday he was among the interested parties to have reached out to News Corp after the media company signaled it may put MySpace on the block.

Siegel said he expected to pay up to $200 million for MySpace, but admitted he was speculating.

"I would be willing to hazard a guess the price is between $50 million to $200 million," Siegel said in an interview. "They have not circulated the sales package yet."

MocoSpace said last November that Mark Jung, a former chief operating officer of News Corp's Fox Interactive Media, the division that includes MySpace, joined MocoSpace's board.

News Corp declined to comment.

Siegel, who co-founded the mobile social network MocoSpace, said he was also once interested in purchasing Bebo, another once hot Internet social network left in the dust by rivals.

"We would've bought it if we had known what AOL was selling it for," Siegel said. "We heard a rumor AOL was looking for $200 million. In reality they sold it for $10 million."

He added: "If I had known that ... I would have shown up with a suitcase full of cash."

SoftBank Capital and General Catalyst Partners are investors in MocoSpace. Bloomberg first reported MocoSpace's interest.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba and Kenneth Li; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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