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from the L.A. Times

Justin Timberlake to play 'major role' in Myspace reboot

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Justin Timberlake is looking once again to a social network for a career hit, and this time it's Myspace.

Last year, the pop singer won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Sean Parker, one of Facebook's early leaders and a co-founder of the former file-sharing service Napster.

As noted on our sister blog Company Town on Wednesday, Irvine-based Specific Media announced that it had bought Myspace from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $35 million in cash and equity -- a far cry from the $580 million that News Corp. paid for it just six years ago, when Facebook wasn't seen as much of a threat.

Facebook has since dethroned MySpace as the most popular social-networking site in the world, and Timberlake -- known more for pop songs than tech investing -- is taking on an ownership stake in Myspace as a member of Specific Media, which specializes in online advertising.

He will also drive the creative strategy at Myspace, said Specific Media co-founder Tim Vanderhook.

"Regardless of the current perception of the Myspace brand, it's one of the small group of brands that has international prominence and a global traffic base of almost 100 million people going to it every month," Vanderhook said. "We are very focused on reinvigorating the brand. Our vision is to bring it back to what it was supposed to be originally."

Timberlake declined an interview request through his publicist. But the company and the crooner left no doubt that media are where they are shifting Myspace's focus.

"There's a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect," Timberlake said in a statement. "Myspace has the potential to be that place. ... [A]rt is inspired by people and vice versa, so there's a natural social component to entertainment. I'm excited to help revitalize Myspace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community."

As a part of Specific Media's takeover deal, News Corp. will take a minority stake in the Irvine firm, the company said.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles and Jessica Guynn

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Justin Timberlake at the premiere of the movie "Bad Teacher," which he stars in, in New York on June 20, 2011. Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

 
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