MURDOCH EXPLAINS WHY HE’S SPLITTING NEWS CORP
Rupert Murdoch spent much of Thursday discussing his decision to split his News Corp media empire into two companies, one for entertainment, the other for newspaper and book publishing, but denied that it was “in any sense a reaction to anything in the U.K.” It was about as far as he would come to mentioning the scandals involving telephone hacking and alleged bribery of police that have thrown News Corp into turmoil for more than two years. Appearing on his own Fox Business channel he remarked: “There are billions and billions of dollars, and if Britain didn’t want ‘em, there are plenty of good places to put them here. I’m much more bullish about America than I am about England [sic].” Asked whether his attitude was related to what he went through with the hacking scandal and his subsequent decision to withdraw his bid to buy all of the BSkyB satellite provider, Murdoch replied, “No, not at all, just the English.” (Even Murdoch’s own Wall Street Journal, referring to Murdoch’s comment, reported: “People close to the company say it has been impossible to ignore the negative effect of the U.K. tabloid scandal on the rest of the company.”) And while Murdoch maintained that the split had been under consideration for three years, when it actually came there was no indication who would take over the reins at the troubled publishing company as CEO (Murdoch said that he would remain chairman of both companies and CEO of the entertainment one) or what it would be called. (Ironically it seemed that the company that actually will produce the news will not wind up with the News Corp name.) Several analysts predicted that it would be sold, sooner rather than later.