Social networking giant MySpace is hardly going Friendster, but it does have its problems.
Facebook is currently kicking its boot-up, reportedly drawing more monthly visitors than MySpace, which also is experiencing losses in page views and revenues.
So what looked like a steal for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. – which outbid Viacom for MySpace in 2005 for a lunch-money $580 million, propped up by $300 million annually in guaranteed Google adbucks for five years – is now a millstone.
Enter Viacom honcho Sumner Redstone, the bridesmaid in in the MySpace bake-off. Redstone “could get a second chance” to own MySpace, according to a New York Times piece this week. The Times story also said this about Redstone’s second-place finish four years ago:
The Viacom chairman acknowledged firing the chief executive, Tom Freston, for failing to purchase MySpace when he figured he could have had it for $500 million. Losing out to Mr. Murdoch was a ‘humiliating experience,’ Mr. Redstone told [PBS host] Charlie Rose in a 2006 interview.
Here’s the thing: According to a piece by Lloyd Grove in the Daily Beast,
[I]t was Redstone and Viacom board member (now CEO) Philippe Dauman, not Freston, who shut down the bidding for MySpace – this, according to numerous accounts, including the definitive book on the subject, Julia Angwin’s Stealing MySpace.
So, if Grove is to be believed (and he seems pretty solid), the Times bought a pig in a poke (that is, a pig in a bag) from Redstone. As did Charlie Rose.
Not exactly a “humiliating experience” for the Times and Rose, but not exactly a Hallmark moment either.