Murdoch says MySpace, Softbank joint venture "

A joint venture with Japan's Softbank to bring the popular Internet social networking site MySpace to Japan was 'a possibility' News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

'That's certainly a possibility,' Murdoch said, when asked whether News Corp. would consider a 50-50 MySpace joint venture with Softbank, as reported by Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

'Here, or in other Asian countries, we'd certainly be open to partnerships,' Murdoch was quoted as saying.

The media tycoon added that while he planned to meet Softbank president Masayoshi Son and hoped to work with him in the media business, he wouldn't do so on an exclusive basis.

The Nihon Keizai reported earlier that News Corp. and Japanese Internet services company Softbank would announce the launch of a Japanese MySpace service as early as this week.

The two companies will each provide half the approximately 1 billion yen ($8.48 million) investment to form MySpace Japan, which will operate the new site, the report said, without identifying its sources.

The new venture comes amid rapid growth in Japan's social networking sites, which are thought to have more than 10 million users, the Nihon Keizai said.

Softbank hopes partnering with News Corp. will help it expand its own business, the report said. Softbank subsidiary Yahoo Japan provides social networking sites, but Softbank has not involved itself in the sites' operations.

Officials at Softbank refused to comment, the report said.