No deep thoughts needed to figure out what happened here: Photobucket co-founders Alex Welch and Darren Crystal are leaving Fox Interactive Media (NYSE: NWS) following the end of their two-year earnout. The News Corp unit bought the photo-sharing site in July 2007 for $250 million in cash plus performance-related payments of up to $50 million. (They told staff late last week but, unusually, it managed to stay under wraps until today on TechCrunch.) Welch is staying on as CEO through a transition; no word yet on who will replace him or departing CTO Crystal. Despite speculation — and maybe some wishful thinking — that it could be folded in to MySpace, I’m told this won’t affect Photobucket’s standalone status within FIM.
The news comes just a month after the Photobucket staff was cut by roughly one-third to about 80 as part of FIM’s layoffs to cut expenses.