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MySpace CEO confirms heavy layoffs

CEO announces that nearly half of the staff at the still-struggling News Corp.-owned social site will be laid off.

MySpace CEO Mike Jones today announced a "significant organizational restructuring that will result in a 47 percent staff reduction across all divisions globally and impact about 500 employees," confirming many rumors that the News Corp.-owned social network would be going through heavy layoffs before possibly seeking a new buyer.

Formerly a social-networking sensation, MySpace lost more and more ground to Facebook over the past few years until it finally underwent a massive redesign that focuses on pop culture media-sharing for young users rather than attempting to be a universally appealing social network.

"Today's tough but necessary changes were taken in order to provide the company with a clear path for sustained growth and profitability," Jones said of the recently redesigned MySpace. "These changes were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business, and in no way reflect the performance of the new product."

The statement had some bits of slightly sunnier news: "Since the worldwide rollout of the new MySpace, there have been more than 3.3 million new profiles created," Jones' statement announced. (OK, but does it offset users who continue to desert the site?) "We have already seen a rise of four percent in mobile users just between November to December, now totaling over 22 million."

Jones also announced that there will be some partnerships for MySpace in the U.K., Australia, and Germany to handle advertising sales and content, which hints that layoffs overseas may be particularly heavy. He said that the company "will retain a core, dedicated international team to work with partners in order to ensure users, content partners and advertisers continue to be served."

There was no mention of News Corp.'s rumored plans to shop MySpace to other buyers.

This post was expanded at 9:10 a.m. PT.