News Corp. may get only $20 million for site

News Corp. is on the verge of unloading MySpace for a fraction of the price Rupert Murdoch paid for it back in 2005.

The struggling social network is expected to finally be sold by Thursday — the close of the conglom’s fiscal year — to one of several companies ready to write checks far from its original $580 million price tag.

Published reports on Tuesday estimated MySpace could fetch as little as $20-30 million from either online ad network Specific Media, private equity group Golden Gate Capital or Austin Ventures, an investment firm with ties to MySpace founder Chris DeWolfe. Two other potential buyers, Criterion Capital Partners and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, are now seen as less likely to make a bid.

MySpace is also bracing for mass layoffs ahead of the sale, with as much as half of the 500 positions expected to be eliminated. MySpace already cut 500 jobs back in January.

News Corp. signaled last year its intent to sell MySpace, which leads a long list of digital acquisitions that have been discarded by the conglom including Fox Mobile Group, Rotten Tomatoes, Photobucket and Beliefnet.

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