Thursday, February 10, 2011

Myspace Is Certainly for Sale, But Not By Press Release

Things Digital

Here's what happening at Myspace, the troubled social networking site owned by News Corp.:

It's for sale, as has been widely reported, along with that intent being declared recently by top company execs.

It's hired Allen & Co. to sort out potential buyers and other options, as has also been reported.

It's hardly begun the process and is pretty much at square one, which means making lists, sorting out inquiries both crazy and valid and lining up its proverbial ducks for Myspace.

What's it's not doing is taking bids via press release, as happened in a decidedly odd fashion last week when MocoSpace, a Boston-based mobile social networking site, issued one.

Titled "MocoSpace Reveals Itself As Interested Party to Potentially Acquire Myspace," the look-at-me attempt to suck up some attention from the media was riveting and appalling at the same time.

"MocoSpace, the largest entertainment destination on the mobile Internet, is today announcing their interest in acquiring Myspace from News Corp.," read the press release.

And, of course, in the email from their PR rep: "Their CEO [Justin Siegel] is revealing their interest and is available to chat with you to discuss why."

While an amusing tactic, All Things Digital declined the generous offer.

Soon enough came another PR entreaty: "Wanted to provide the update that today Newscorp contacted MocoSpace and they are now in conversation."

Oh, really? So, BoomTown phoned some sources there close to the situation and found them very perplexed as that characterization.

One source laughed at the gumption behind the MocoSpace press release, although added that the company was very much wanting to dispose of Myspace in the best possible way.

"No legitimate offers ignored," said the source, who said a sale was more likely than bringing in new investors to recapitalize it. "But nothing has happened yet."

Another source noted that the company had only sent an acknowledgement to MocoSpace, as it did for anyone who expressed any interest.

Mocospace was kind enough to send me these emails, including one from News Corp. deal exec Jack Kennedy, which was entirely rote and referred Siegel to Allen & Co. "to fill you in w/respect to how the process may develop."

Added another source: "Nobody at this point that can be considered 'in conversation.'"


Thus, more email spin from MocoSpace PR: "We never said that Newscorp contacted MocoSpace first. After MocoSpace released their statement, Justin Siegel did receive an email from Newscorp."

And: "It seems that you may have misunderstood my email when I said they were 'in conversation.' I simply meant that after MocoSpace made their intention public, Newscorp did contact them–hence 'in conversation.'

And: "I did not mean to imply that they were in any sort of negotiating conversation–if that is something that you took from the email, it was an assumption, and I am sorry for any confusion in the wording there."

However could I be confused after all this mishegas?

Finally, Siegel weighed in via email, noting in part:

It's been brought to my attention that there's some confusion and frustration…In addition, I'd like to clarify that this was/is not a publicity stunt. We made our interest in MySpace public. The interest it's generated is surprising. To every person I've spoken to directly, I've made it clear that I've had no direct conversation with either MySpace or Newscorp regarding the sale."

Like I said, no sale. Yet.

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