Breaking news: MySpace to axe 300 international staff and close at least 4 offices

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This is breaking now – we just got this official letter to the MySpace staff from one of our sources at MySpace in Europe. The official release follows, but here’s the gist: MySpace will be cutting 300 international staff and closing at least 4 offices outside the US, with those in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain coming under specific review. Owen Van Natta admits to trying to grow the company’s European operations too fast, and says that London, Berlin, and Sydney offices will become hubs for the company’s regional activities.  MySpace’ Japanese and Chinese operations will be unaffected. Here’s the full email:

From: Owen Van Natta
Subject: IMPORTANT: PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL RESTRUCTURE
Importance: High

Everyone,

Last week we made a number of changes to MySpace’s domestic structure in order to create a leaner, more nimble organization. Today, we are announcing the next step in our overall restructuring effort – a proposal to streamline our operations abroad.

Unlike our recent domestic restructuring announcement, what we are announcing today is a formal proposal we intend to implement, rather than an executed plan. As required by laws in countries where we operate, we will not implement the plan until we have consulted with potentially affected employees. As a result, even though the plan we are proposing today would apply to all international divisions of the company, a finalized international restructuring will be put into action over a period of days.

Similar to our domestic restructuring, our international plan is designed to rein in growth in staff and expenses that we cannot sustain. Our proposal would reduce MySpace’s international staff from 450 employees to approximately 150 employees and close at least 4 of our offices outside the United States.

Upon completion of the proposed plan, London, Berlin, and Sydney would become the primary regional hubs for MySpace’s international operations. Under the proposed plan, MySpace would place all existing offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain under review for possible restructure. MySpace China, a locally owned, operated, and managed company, and MySpace’s joint venture in Japan would not be affected by the proposed plan.

We are focusing on London, Berlin, and Sydney for two very simple reasons: (1) these are markets where we have a lot of MySpace users as well as the resources to allow us to compete effectively and (2) these are major international commerce centers where a robust MySpace presence can help our company develop new and innovative business partnerships.

As with the domestic changes we made last week, these proposed international reductions and eliminations will be extremely challenging – professionally and personally. These are difficult decisions and they are essential to our financial well-being and the re-establishment of our overall growth strategy.

Our goal to tap into as many international markets as possible drove us to create too many offices around the globe, and with them came inefficiencies. Under the new plan, we will refocus our efforts on regional business partnerships and integration in a smaller number of territories, while retaining a robust international presence. We remain steadfast in our commitment to reaching a global audience.

The last two weeks have been tough for everyone. The employees who leave us played an important role in the successes of MySpace in these international markets, and I thank them for their hard and dedicated work. The restructuring steps we have taken have laid the groundwork for an exciting new chapter of innovation for MySpace. I look forward to working with you all and speaking with you in the coming days.

Thank you,

Owen

——————

MYSPACE PROPOSES INTERNATIONAL RESTRUCTURING

Proposal Includes Plans for Office Consolidations and Staff Reductions

LOS ANGELES—June 23, 2009—MySpace today announced its intent to restructure its international operations and refocus personnel around a smaller number of territories, while retaining a robust global consumer presence.

The proposed restructuring plan, which is subject to consultation with international employees in some countries, would apply to all international divisions of the company, reducing MySpace’s international staff from 450 employees to approximately 150 employees and closing at least 4 of its offices outside the United States.

Upon completion of the proposed plan, London, Berlin, and Sydney would become the primary regional hubs for MySpace’s international operations. Under the proposed plan, MySpace would place all existing offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain under review for possible restructure. MySpace China, a locally owned, operated, and managed company, and MySpace’s joint venture in Japan would not be affected by the proposed plan.

“With roughly half of MySpace’s total user base coming from outside the U.S., maintaining productive and efficient operations in our international markets is important to users worldwide and our immediate financial strength,” said MySpace Chief Executive Officer Owen Van Natta. “As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions. Today’s proposed changes are designed to transform and refine our international growth strategy.”

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/23/myspace-terminates-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace Terminates 2/3 Of International Staff

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://www.myspace.com Fired

    ” MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome..”

    right.
    Nice to feel appreciated..
    Didn’t realize working my ass off was seen as “cumbersome”
    Word choice, anyone?
    As always, MySpace is reactively forced to notify staffing of plans that have already been laid out by the press….

  • http://thenextweb.com/2009/06/23/myspace-europe-loses-300-staff-4-offices-international-md-beginning/ MySpace Europe Loses 300 staff, 4 Offices and International MD. Beginning of the end? – The Next Web

    […] there is no mention of his departure in the email or press release from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, posted on Techcrunch […]

  • http://myblogchannel.com/?p=13680 MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | My Blog Channel

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://blog.viningmedia.nl/2009/06/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | Viningmedia Nieuws

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://builddesignwebsite.com/2009/06/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | Design Website

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • Boris

    It’s confirmed that Moscow office is to be closed on 30 June.

    Their revenue plans for 2009 were USD 5-6M.

  • http://techdozer.com/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | TechDozer.Com

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://www.technews.atbhost.net/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff.html MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • Rose

    Is this breaking news? I heard this last week…was reported everywhere…maybe i’m missing something.
    http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/16/technology/myspace_layoffs/?postversion=2009061613

  • Jules Morgan

    I just can’t see how a medium sized company (which MySpace International effectively is) can suddenly wake up one day and think “Ok, we need to get rid of TWO THIRDS of our workforce”.

    If we look back at 2000, whilst loads of good companies didn’t survive, the most exposed were the ones who forgot the principles from which they came – agile, adaptive etc.

    This isn’t either. It’s knee-jerk. Sucks for the 300 brave Spartans though.

    • http://www.linkedin.com/in/synstelien Don

      It is one way to make the company profitable.

  • http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/news/2009/myspace-to-axe-international-staff-in-restructuring/ MySpace to axe international staff in restructuring | Van Natte axe falls

    […] to reports from Techcrunch this morning, the huge restructuring at MySpace will continue outside the US with up to 300 staff […]

  • http://cellphoneultra.com/myspace-to-terminate-2-3-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of universal Staff | Cellphone Ultra

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and e mail from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • John

    Nice of the journalists to plaster this all over the web without any consideration for the poor people affected. Having their personal uncertainties aired in public. By all means print the news of restructuring, laying off, but did we REALLY need to see the official letter sent to the employees? Cheap shot.

    And no I don’t work for Myspace…

    • just

      Van Natta’s letter is no news to anyone who work for the company

  • http://www.scoopernews.com/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | ScooperNews.com

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://www.thegeekland.com/?p=381 Geek Land | MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://thegoodnetguide.com/06/myspace-to-terminate-23-of-international-staff/ MySpace To Terminate 2/3 Of International Staff | The Good NET Guide

    […] TechCrunch Europe has the press release and email from MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta to what’s left of staff. […]

  • http://www.commenti-tecnologia.com/web/myspace-licenziera-i-23-del-personale-fuori-gli-stati-uniti-28387.html MySpace licenzierà i 2/3 del personale fuori gli Stati Uniti - Commenta la tecnologia, la telefonia, i software

    […] CEO Owen Van Natta ha comunicato la decisione ai propri dipendenti con una lettera riportata su TechCrunch Europe, dove afferma di voler chiudere almeno 4 degli uffici fuori gli USA lasciando che quelli di Londra, […]

  • Jules Morgan

    Oh, and can we get comments in CET or something please ?

  • http://heleana.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/myspaces-giant-international-staff-cull-ouch/ MySpace’s giant international staff cull.. ouch « Digital HQ

    […] to TCUK for the full letter from Owen Van Natta, which I have taken the liberty of copying below: From: Owen […]

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2009/06/myspace-looks-to-close-some-space.html MySpace Looks to Close Some Space

    […] has already trimmed its domestic operations so this move comes as little surprise. TechCrunch UK is reporting this update and has the internal e-mail that was sent to employees regarding the move. […]

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    Are comments not in CET? This is a test…

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    Let’s try this again

  • http://constanthit.com/?p=409 MySpace Looks to Close Some Space | webmarketingexperts.com.au

    […] has already trimmed its domestic operations so this move comes as little surprise. TechCrunch UK is reporting this update and has the internal e-mail that was sent to employees regarding the move. […]

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/06/23/france-spain-and-italy-offices-likely-to-go-in-myspace-euro-shutdown/ France, Spain and Italy offices likely to go in MySpace Euro shutdown

    […] What we don’t know yet is how many of the 400 international employees will shortly be following. [Update: Again, scratch that – see our breaking story] […]

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