News Corp cleared to purchase Intermix

US antitrust authorities have sanctioned Rupert Murdoch's latest Web acquisition, prompting blogger anguish in MySpace

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been given the green light by US antitrust authorities to go ahead with its acquisition of Intermix Media.

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday said it would not raise any objection to News Corporation's acquisition of Intermix Media for $580m (£322m), a deal that was announced back on 18 July.

Intermix, which will merge with News Corporation's Fox Interactive Media, owns the popular social networking site MySpace. Users can personalise their homepages with photos and music, and list favourite activities, books, music and films.

News Corp's interest in Intermix may be fuelled by its recent financial performance. Intermix's first quarter financial results published on August 15 report record revenue of $26.7m for the three months to 30 June 2005. Network segment revenues rose from $6.2m in the same period last year to $12.6m this year, an increase of 106 percent. This revenue increase is reportedly due to the growth of MySpace and increased branded advertising sales.

Bloggers at MySpace fear there are sinister motives behind the takeover. One blogger fears that News Corp will "load [MySpace] with Fox News advertisements, censorship filters, and ban anyone who speaks out against… their agenda." Other posters speak out against 'Faux News', and fear monitoring, privacy breaches, and the introduction of subscription fees.

The Intermix takeover is an extant sign of News Corp's accelerating moves into the online sector. Fox Interactive Media itself was set up this summer as an Internet division to include all of News Corp's Web propertes.

Earlier this month it was reported News Corp was considering acquiring Web search provider Blinkx, and has budgeted up to $2bn for investments and strategic acquisitions. Fox Interactive Media has already bought sports Web site operator Scout Media for an undisclosed sum, and has also launched a $90m takeover bid for Australian online property-listing site RealEstate.com.au.