Rupert Murdoch has told a meeting of Australian investors that MySpace would be worth $6bn if News Corporation were to sell it now.

The media giant paid $580m for the world’s most popular social network site last year, and Murdoch now considers MySpace to be a vital part of his media empire.

MySpace now has 130m users and is growing at a rate of 8m every month, with 200m users expected by mid 2007.

According to UBS analyst Aryeh Bourkoff, MySpace’s recent advertising deal with Google should bring in $50m in 2007, $250m in 2008 and $300m in both 2009 and 2010.

Murdoch’s acquisition of MySpace has been controversial, with News Corp coming under criticism for blocking links to competing sites in user profiles.

MySpace founder Brad Greenspan recently filed a lawsuit against News Corp, accusing it of ‘evil behaviour’.