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News Corp.-Intermix: Murdoch, Chernin Explain; Others React

The one-two punch of establishing Fox Interactive Media and MySpace/Intermix set off a near-avalanche of coverage from analysts and media. A round-up of the latest:
NYT: Rupert Murdoch tells the Times’ Richard Siklos (who used to have the mogul beat at Inside.com) “you bet” spending more than a half-billion primarily to acquire a two-year-old business gave him pause. But he was impressed by management and the way MySpace “swept past all the other people in this space, in particular by embracing music. …This particular group of sites would appeal to young people who are watching less television and reading fewer newspapers.”

LAT: The LA Times turns to Peter Chernin, who said the company is sensitive to concers about readily accessible explicit content and said News Corp. would be vigilant in policing MySpace. (No exact quote.) Yankee Group senior analyst Patrick Mahoney warns, “If they want to sustain the buzz of something like MySpace.com, they’re going to have to be in it for the advertising revenue purely, not make it more of a corporate-feeling experience. If they do, they risk the problem of discontent.”
Speaking of discontent, Brad Greenspan, founder of Intermix predecessor eUniverse and owner of about 10 percent of the Intermix shares, said shareholders should vote against the deal: “I think management clearly has shown they’re not able to understand how to value media assets.” That’s the same Greenspan who was ousted as chairman and lost a proxy battle over the company’s control.

MediaPost: “Mainly, big media companies like News Corp., Disney, Time Warner, and Viacom, have looked online as a way of extending their traditional media brand franchises and to help promote their usage. News Corp.’s acquisition of Intermix looks to be a genuine diversification play into the rapidly growing area of social networking.”

The Australian: In a possible sign of things to come, News Corp.’s Australian internet group, News Interactive, would like customize MySpace for Australians. About 5,000 Australians use the service now.