Kotick in final talks to buy out Myspace

NEW YORK Thu Jun 9, 2011 8:24pm EDT

An undated image courtesy of MySpace. REUTERS/Handout

An undated image courtesy of MySpace.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An investor group including Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick is in final talks to take a controlling stake in News Corp's social network site Myspace, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Kotick's involvement is personal and nothing to do with Activision at this stage, the people said.

Kotick was approached by the investor group in recent weeks and has not yet made a full commitment to the Myspace project, one of the people said.

If he does get involved his stake is likely to be very small, two of the sources said.

Activision is best known for its 'Call of Duty' war game franchise.

There remain others in the race, according to the first person, but the Kotick group is now the favored bidder.

Under the terms of the discussions, News Corp would retain an equity stake, possibly of about 20 percent, one of the sources said.

News Corp, which paid $580 million for Myspace in 2005, had hoped to do a deal valuing Myspace at about $100 million, but sources said in April that it was unlikely to achieve that target.

Like Friendster, Myspace was a pioneer of the social networking space between 2005 and 2007, but it soon lost out to Facebook, now the market leader in social networking.

Last year News Corp relaunched Myspace as a social entertainment site with a focus on music, movies and celebrities.

Technology blog AllThingsDigital cited sources earlier on Kotick's interest.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

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