MySpace Might Close Offices In Europe And San Francisco

imageBy Bobbie Johnson: MySpace is considering closing down a number of offices around the world as it attempts to cut costs and recover from a slump that has left it trailing its rivals. Senior executives at the social networking site are currently discussing the possibility of shutting down operations in California, Italy, France and Spain, sources have told the Guardian.

The closures – which could be announced as early as next week – could result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. One office under threat is the company’s base in San Francisco, which only opened at the end of 2007 and is home to around 200 members of staff. It is not yet clear if those jobs would be cut as a result of such a shutdown, or whether some workers would be offered the option of relocating to MySpace’s headquarters in Los Angeles. It is also expected to cut a number of jobs in its European offices as it struggles to meet revenue targets for advertising amid falling user numbers. Workers in Paris, Madrid and Rome could be affected, and 20 people are already believed to have been fired from MySpace UK in February, including the head of IT and head of facilities.

MySpace has seen falling user numbers and time spent on its properties in the UK and US, while rival sites including Facebook have continued to increase their audiences. As a result, pressure has built on the company to regain its momentum – leading the site to bring in a new chief executive and undergo a series of redesigns to help woo back users who have deserted it.

Those changes have so far failed to halt the slump, however, and sources within the company say that Travis Katz – the London-based general manager of MySpace’s international division – has made a series of short-notice trips to the US to talk to senior executives about possible cutbacks. He is believed to be returning again for further discussions on on Monday. It is understood that the closure of offices could be announced as early as next week, leaving European staff concentrated in two offices in the UK and Germany.

MySpace UK declined to comment on Katz’s movements or the prospect of job cuts and office closures. Asked whether it could offer staff confidence in their jobs for the coming fortnight, a spokesperson declined to comment. Rumors of job losses first began circulating earlier this week, when TechCrunch reported that “massive layoffs” of up to 25% of the company’s workers were on the cards.

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..