It's official: MySpace to acquire iLike

CEO Owen Van Natta said in a conference call that the News Corp.-owned social network has agreed to purchase the social music site, following rumors.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
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MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta has confirmed in a Wednesday conference call that the News Corp.-owned social network has "entered into an agreement to acquire iLike," following rumors earlier in the week.

iLike's co-founders will remain at the company and stay headquartered in Seattle; the service will be "unaffected by the acquisition" in the short term.

Van Natta explained in the conference call that the acquisition is on behalf of MySpace Inc. rather than its MySpace Music division, a joint venture with the major record labels, because the company plans to extend its technology to other areas of entertainment such as gaming and possibly film. He highlighted the "discovery" technology that iLike has built and suggested that MySpace planned to integrate it into some of its other properties.

No terms of the deal were disclosed, but reports have indicated that iLike was sold at quite a bargain--something in the neighborhood of $20 million total--because its ad-supported, streaming music model failed to rake in the profits that investors hoped it would.

Van Natta denied that the deal had been delayed due to iLike board disputes or tax issues, as some reports had suggested.

But it's unclear as to how the deal will affect iLike's relationship with Facebook. The social network's developer platform has been home to much of iLike's activity, and now that it will be owned by Facebook's closest rival, there's a chance that Facebook could restrict or block the app. Van Natta, Facebook's former chief operating officer, said that iLike's apps are part of "a lot of different social networks' experience. We're excited about just continuing to expand that experience to other areas of entertainment that MySpace has assets in."

Meanwhile, Van Natta claimed that MySpace Music is "doing extremely well" and that "we absolutely expect MySpace Music to be an important part of MySpace...for years to come." Several months ago, rumors were swirling around the music industry that its performance hadn't been up to expectations.

This post was last updated at 12:13 p.m. PT.