News Corp.’s MySpace.com online service will be launched in Japan in a joint venture with Japanese Internet and telecoms group Softbank Corp., the Nihon Keizai business daily reported on Monday.
The 50-50 venture, to be called MySpace Japan, will first offer services for personal computers and later allow users to post photos and write blogs via cellphones, the paper said.
The firms are expected to announce the deal as early as this week after a meeting between News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, it said.
Softbank spokesman Takeaki Nukii declined to comment.
Shares of Mixi Inc., Japan’s most popular online social network site, tumbled 10 percent to 2.07 million yen by the midday break due to investor concerns about a new competitor.
Softbank’s shares fell 1.84 percent to 2,395 yen, while the benchmark Nikkei average was down 0.7 percent.
News Corp. bought MySpace.com, which is popular with teenagers, last year for an estimated $580 million, and has transformed it into one of the Internet’s fastest-growing properties.
Such online services have also been gaining popularity in Japan with Mixi Inc., the country’s most popular online social network site, quintupling its users since August of last year.
Mixi debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September.
Softbank’s Internet arm, Yahoo Japan Corp., also offers an online network service.
A research note by UBS said in June that News Corp. and Softbank would set up a joint venture to launch MySpace.com in Japan by mid-September, citing comments by Murdoch.
News Corp. declined to comment at the time.
Murdoch, who is on a visit to Tokyo, will be giving a speech at a conference on an unrelated topic at 5 p.m. Japan time (0800 GMT).
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