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MySpace to cut 300 international positions

Social network giant MySpace announced on Tuesday that it was cutting 300 international jobs and closing at least four offices abroad, a week after reducing its domestic staff by nearly 30 per cent.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2009 20:18 IST

Social network giant MySpace announced on Tuesday that it was cutting 300 international jobs and closing at least four offices abroad, a week after reducing its domestic staff by nearly 30 per cent.

MySpace, in a statement, said it was reducing its international staff from 450 employees to approximately 150 employees. The social network owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. said that the restructuring would result in the closure of at least four of its offices outside the United States.

It said all existing offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain were being placed under review for possible restructuring.

MySpace said that London, Berlin, and Sydney would become the primary regional hubs for its international operations.
Locally owned and operated MySpace China and MySpace’s joint venture in Japan would not be affected by the proposed plan, the company said.

“With roughly half of MySpace’s total user base coming from outside the US, maintaining productive and efficient operations in our international markets is important to users worldwide and our immediate financial strength,” MySpace chief executive Owen Van Natta said.

“As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the US, MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions.

“Today’s proposed changes are designed to transform and refine our international growth strategy,” Van Natta said. The announcement of international job cuts came exactly a week after MySpace announced that it was cutting 420 jobs in the United States, nearly 30 per cent of its domestic staff.

The round of job cuts reduced the domestic workforce to 1,000 employees.

Van Natta, who was named MySpace CEO in April, was a chief revenue officer and vice president of operations for Facebook. He resigned from the rival company in early 2008.

Facebook replaced MySpace last year as the world’s most popular social network, and industry figures show it has been widening its lead.

Facebook was the top social networking site when ranked by total minutes for the month of April, showing a gain of 700 per cent from a year earlier, according to a recent study by Nielsen Online.

MySpace was in second place, with its total minutes declining from 7.3 billion in April 2008 to 5.0 billion in April 2009, the survey showed. MySpace claims 130 million users compared with Facebook’s audience of 200 million.

Despite the newly announced employee reductions, MySpace’s workforce will remain larger than Facebook’s staff of about 900. MySpace, which launched in 2003, was bought by News Corp. in 2005 for 580 million dollars.