Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If someone wants to lose half a billion...

In case you didn't hear, News Corporation - the same people who bring you Fox News - today sold MySpace for the sum of $35 million.

That is not a small amount of money. Though it is much smaller than the $580 million News Corp. paid for MySpace in 2005.

Let's put this in perspective. Say you bought a house in 2005 for $200K. Now, in our recessioned world, you might get $165K for it (so I hope for you, anyway). Your house would have lost more than 17% of its value. Under News Corp., MySpace lost almost 94% of its value.

Some people thought this was a good deal at the time, by the way.

This will be broken down in business and communications textbooks for generations. Mistakes were made. Facebook, seemingly, didn't make them.

Whatever. That isn't what this post is about. As of the moment I am writing this, News Corp.'s stock price is $17.83/share. What was it on June 30, 2005? A hair below $17 per, according to News Corp.'s investor site.

What I' saying here is News Corp., no matter what you think of the MySpace acquisition, how it ran that business, how it runs any of it's other businesses... it can weather quite a storm.

So, I want to propose to News Corp. that instead of buying a social networking site and losing half a billion dollars (not including the dollars spent on funding MySpace while owning it), instead, if you're going to take the writedown... give the money to me.

Here's my plan:

1) Give everyone - everyone - in America a dollar. Because I'm a nice guy, I'm giving 307,006,550 people a dollar. Doesn't sound like much, but tell me you'd turn down a guy giving you a buck, just because.

That leaves about $196 million.

2) Buy a house.

No, no... a house.

OK, so let's just figure... conservatively, I'd have about $100 million left. With that...

Man, I don't know.

I wouldn't have enough to buy a National League baseball team and relocate it to Boston, just to mess with Red Sox fans, unfortunately.

I guess at that point you start thinking about charity stuff. Giving back.

I could give $10 million to ten charities of my choosing. That's get-a-wing-of-the-hospital-named-for-you money.

Anyhow, it's a modest proposal.

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