Blog Post

MySpace: DeWolfe, Anderson Deal Done?; SF Office; International Expansion

With the clock about to run out in a matter of days on the initial two-year contracts of top MySpace execs Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, it looks like the issue of their status may finally have been resolved — or maybe not. A few of the hints towards the former: this week, CEO DeWolfe is appearing at Web 2.0 with News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and hosting a party at MySpace’s new San Francisco office. (More on that later.) More to the point, in an interview with USA Today about managing mergers, DeWolfe was asked about reports that Murdoch is “cheap” when it comes to compensation and that there was about $35 million difference between what they wanted and what he was willing to pay. DeWolfe’s reply: “Those are rumors, nothing more. We can’t comment on any potential compensation or a new deal other than to say that Tom and I are excited to work with News Corp. in the years to come.” Grain of salt, etc.

Bay Area operations: MySpace will hire as many as 200 people to work in its new SF office in the SoMa neighborhood — mostly engineers who will be charged with enhancing the site’s infrastructure and create new products, according to the SF Chronicle. DeWolfe told the paper: “We literally planned out all the products we’re going to build in the next year or two. We don’t have enough engineers to do what we want to do. Clearly, San Francisco and Silicon Valley attract the top engineering talent in the world. … It’s going to allow us to develop incredibly rapidly.” The social net already has 400 or so engineers working in southern California, plus operations in Seattle and London. MySpace is celebrating the opening with a bash this week at the SF Museum of Modern Art.

International expansion: We’ve written before about MySpace’s international launches and plans, including a recent paidContent:UK interview with Jamie Kantrowitz, SVP Marketing & Content, Europe, MySpace. The FT has some details about upcoming local editions in Brazil, India, Poland and Russia. Travis Katz, head of MySpace’s international operations, said they could lose on the sites at first: “We initially launched in countries where we could make money, as they had a developed online advertising market. We are now moving into countries that are at a much earlier stage of development. Russia, for example, does not have a huge online advertising market. But the time to go in is now, when we can capitalize on the growth in these markets.”