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Justin Timberlake, the surprising name in the MySpace takeover

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By The Drum Team | Editorial

July 3, 2011 | 3 min read

A surprising name in the new Myspace team - as a part owner - is Justin Timberlake — who in last year's film "The Social Network" played a key figure in the history of Facebook's phenomenal growth

So how did that happen?

The key figure is Nicole Winnaman, president of entertainment branding firm Winnaman & Associates. Nicole learned two weeks ago that the advertising network Specific Media was talking to NewsCorp about buying MySpace . Winnaman, who has put together musicians like Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Pink with consumer brands, approached Timberlake's manager with a proposal that Justin take a stake in the new Myspace.

Last Friday, as the $35 million deal was being finalised with News Corp., Specific Media 's founders brothers Tim and Chris Vanderhook met with Winnaman and Timberlake's manager at Los Angeles International Airport to discuss a potential partnership, the Los Angeles Times reported. Timberlake joined the meeting by phone. On Monday, the Vanderhooks flew to New York to meet Timberlake in person . By Tuesday night, lawyers for Timberlake and Specific Media were racing to close the partnership deal in time for Wednesday's acquisition announcement."I don't think anyone slept for 72 hours," said Tim Vanderhook. Timberlake's manager, Johnny Wright, said his client — whose career spans many forms of media, including music, film and television — recognises the power of social media . In "The Social Network," Timberlake played Sean Parker, an Internet entrepreneur who helped arrange financing for Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg. Timberlake has now made made his own (undisclosed) financial investment, in Myspace. Timberlake didn't talk , but Wright stressed: "This is not a vanity ownership. He wants to make it relevant in a big way. "Vanderhook said he and his brothers understand digital advertising and "how to move traffic on the Internet." He said he hopes Timberlake will be able to give the flagging site renewed social relevance. Vanderhook told the LA Times, "Justin is excited about the platform and the ability to interact with his fans. He's well aware of the all the unique opportunities that digital media affords someone like him. He will use the platform himself and show other artists how to use it"

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