UPDATE 2-News Corp taps Allen & Co for MySpace sale-sources
* News Corp gets about 50 inquiries for MySpace - source
* MocoSpace interested in MySpace
* MocoSpace considered buying Bebo (Adds background)
NEW YORK, Feb 4 (Reuters) - News Corp (NWSA.O) 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 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.
"If I had known that ... I would have shown up with a suitcase full of cash."
News Corp acquired MySpace in 2005 for $580 million after News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch famously swooped in to beat rivals such as Viacom Inc VIAb.N in the bidding. But since then, the website has become increasingly irrelevant as a social network for many users who have migrated to Facebook.
In January, MySpace cut half of its staff -- affecting about 500 employees -- setting the stage for a sale of the former Internet social networking leader.
News Corp said on Wednesday that the division that operates MySpace reported a second quarter operating loss of $156 million due in part to lower search and advertising revenues at MySpace.
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 and Andre Grenon)
- Still no sign of Malaysian jet lost in 'unprecedented mystery' |
- The search for missing Malaysian jet
- Mexico kills drug kingpin reported dead years ago: official
- Missing Malaysian jet may have disintegrated in mid-air: source |
- Exclusive: Malaysia plane probe narrows on mid-air disintegration - source