- Bebo/Murdoch: Up to its usual entertaining tricks, Valleywag points to Bebo employee Emma Carlsgaard’s profile update reporting Rupert Murdoch visited the site’s San Francisco office. After concluding News Corp is set to buy the social net, the Wag later reckoned Murdoch was, instead, in talks to invest in the company. There’s not a sausage of truth in either angle, we’re told. But bless Valleywag – this rumour can be attributed merely to Bebo office hijinx, and one staffer successfully kidding another that her favourite media mogul was in the building. The funding? Bebo says it’s always open to talks.
- Free Indie: Looks like someone at MediaGuardian towers got an irate phone call last night. The site ran a story in which industry folk speculated The Independent might scrap its cover price. Join the dots between a sliding circulation and the rise of the freesheet, and it’s one possibility. Except it’s “utter rubbish”, Indie editor Simon Kelner later raged in response: “And I think it’s shameful journalism on the part of Guardian Media that you present unsubstantiated gossip as news.”Ouch! The story’s angle: Shaun Gregory of Blyk, the mobile network aiming to popularise the ad-funded model, “said he had heard that The Independent was considering a free edition but he was not aware of specific plans”.
– WAYN/AOL: TCUK cites three unnamed but “well-placed sources” as saying AOL (NYSE: TWX) is in talks to buy London-based Where Are You Now? (WAYN) for a stratospheric $200 million – yet the social travel site itself says it “has, at no point, had discussions with AOL and are not currently looking for a strategic sale”. Could it be that tentative talks are indeed taking place, or that investors are trying to talk up the price ahead of a hoped-for future sell-off… ? Is there really that much value in WAYN… ? Update: AOL said it doesn’t comment on market rumour and speculation.