MySpace Hands Off UK Sales In Significant Cutback

MySpace’s UK headcount had already been slimmed dramatically in the last couple of years. Now a significant number of its remaining staff of under 50 will go.

The social network is cutting 47 percent (500 people) of its global staff, it announced Tuesday

MySpace (NSDQ: NWS) is handing its UK ad sales and sponsorship duties over to its News Corp stablemate .Fox Networks, the online sales house of Fox International Channels. The UK sales VP is joining ITV. MySpace is still figuring out how to manage sales in Australia and Germany. IGN UK is taking its sales ops in-house.

Together, those three countries had become MySpace’s only remaining international outposts, when it slashed its overseas staff from 450 to 150 during 2009’s 720-employee cut-down. At that time, it closed its Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and Spain offices. And there had been further cutbacks, taking non-U.S. headcount to below 100 ahead of Tuesday’s latest announcement.

.Fox now manages MySpace sales in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Poland and Turkey. In Asia, it represents Myspace in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India. The U.S. is now the only country where MySpace manages its own sales.

In the local announcement, MySpace international SVP Rebekah Horne and .Fox SVP Deborah Armstrong declare the company “excited” and “delighted” about the .Fox partnership – emotions the staff now in consultation meetings may find it hard to evoke.

On the content side, a few people may be needed to manage partnerships centrally.

It’s all a far cry from the mid-noughties heyday, when, under Jamie Kantrowitz and Jay Stevens, MySpace rapidly expanded European operations.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Stevens, now running international for fast-growing ad company Project Rubicon, courts MySpace sales refugees in the same way he has attracted AOL (NYSE: AOL) advertising leavers.