MySpace Likes iLike To The Tune Of $20M

In an effort to invigorate its fading star, MySpace on Wednesday announced the acquisition of popular music recommendation startup iLike. While the size of the deal was not disclosed, it was reportedly in the range of $20 million.

"We're really focused on discovery," MySpace chief executive Owen Van Natta said during a conference call on Wednesday.

At first glance, analysts responded favorably to the deal. "We see the acquisition as complimentary," Imran Khan, J.P. Morgan managing director and Web analyst, said in a research note issued upon Wednesday's announcement.

And while the sharing, discovery, and recommending of music remains key to MySpace, the iLike acquisition will impact every area of its business, according to Van Natta.

"We're going to take all the great things that iLike means to users and extend that to all areas," he said. Specifically, that includes entertainment, video, and video games -- all of which Van Natta said could benefit greatly from iLike's recommendation engine.

Prior to the acquisition, iLike was reportedly planning to introduce its own music store, in cooperation with the four foremost music companies. Van Natta said such plans -- true or not -- had no bearing on the decision to buy iLike.

Van Natta also rejected any idea that the acquisition was necessary to save MySpace Music from an untimely demise. The service, he said, has grown 1,000% over the past year, and 200% annually since its launch.

In the two years since brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi officially launched iLike, the site has attracted 55 million users. iLike's co-founders will remain at the Seattle-based company, and the service will, for now, be unaffected by the acquisition.

"Combining MySpace's existing platform, reach and resources with iLike's syndication network and social discovery tools creates the potential for truly exciting innovation," iLike president Hadi Partovi said in a statement.

Another reason for the acquisition, according to Van Natta, was the talent behind iLike. Looking ahead, he said, "expect to see continued (news) about great talent coming to MySpace."

"We think that integration of iLike should help drive stickier traffic and ultimately improve monetization of the MySpace user base," Khan added.

"Additionally, we think MySpace will expand iLike technology beyond music and into other entertainment categories such as games and video."

Agreeing, Khan said: "We see the fact that CEO Ali Partovi, president Hadi Partovi and (chief technology office) Nat Brown will stay with MySpace as a positive."

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