Loudcloud Nets News Corp.

Cyberbiz Brief

News Corp. said Thursday that it will begin outsourcing its Internet operations to Loudcloud, giving it control of the technology that runs the Fox-branded news, sports and entertainment Web sites.

As part of the agreement, Loudcloud’s proprietary Opsware automation technology will deploy, scale, manage and monitor the Web sites. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, the latest inspiration of Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, helps build and maintain corporate Web sites. Michael Ovitz is a board member and investor in the company.

“The ability to consolidate our Web hosting costs with a single vendor will save News Corporation a significant amount of money over the next few years,” said Lachlan Murdoch, News Corp’s deputy chief operating officer. “Now we have the resources to focus on creating compelling content and delivering new services to our viewers and customers.”

In a suprising move, News Corp. folded its News Digital Media division in January, handing operation of its Web sites back to its TV channels.

Loudcloud also on Thursday announced that it will discount its initial public offering for a second time, lowering its IPO to $6 per share, down from a previously sought range of $8 to $10. To make sure it raises enough money to stay in business, Loudcloud increased the amount of stock to be sold by 25% to 25 million shares. Just a month ago, Loudcloud hoped its IPO would fetch as much as $12 per share. Company clients include Nike.com, Britannica.com and Gamers.com, among others.

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