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Rupert Murdoch Quits UK Newspaper Boards

Rupert Murdoch Quits UK Newspaper Boards

Slowly yet inexorably, Rupert Murdoch is bowing out. Last week, the 81-year-old Murdoch resigned from the directorship News International (NI), the British-based affiliate of News Corporation that controls newspapers including The Sun tabloid, The Times and The Sunday Times. Murdoch also resigned from the boards of the Times Newspaper Holdings and Newscorp Investments.

Murdoch remains chairman of NI.

A News Corp. spokeswoman described Murdoch’s resignations as “nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise” in advance of plans announced last month to split News Corp. into two entities, a publishing division and an entertainment division including The Wall Street Journal (now the most popular of the company’s papers by circulation), the Fox Broadcasting television networks and the 20th Century Fox film company.

But Murdoch’s stepping down is being widely read as a sign that he plans eventually to sell his UK newspapers, which have been mired in scandal after, last July 4, the Guardian reported that reporters for NI tabloid News of the World had hacked into the voicemails of a murdered British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.

Comments media analyst Claire Enders in Bloomberg:

ďItís all part of a withdrawal from the U.K. Itís a continued disassociation with the Murdochs as a family because, after all, James and Rupert Murdoch are not all that different in the playout of the scandal. Theyíve both been heavily implicated in different ways. So this is a response.”

Both Murdochs have had to answer questions before Parliament about the phone hacking scandal. As reports of the scandal grew, News Corp. had to withdraw its bid to acquire full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group, Britainís biggest pay-TV operator, of which it owns 39 percent. James Murdoch, who is currently the deputy operating chief of News Corp. in New York, stepped down as chairman of BSkyB in April. British media regulator Ofcom is investigating whether the Murdochs are “fit and proper” to run a media company and has threatened to revoke the company’s broadcasting license.

Bloomberg also reports that, last week, a lawyer for phone hacking victims said that a NI executive is in possession of an email — not previously disclosed by the company — containing instructions for hacking the phone of a “well-known person.”

Murdoch also faces pressure to resign as News Corp.’s chairman at the company’s annual meeting later this year. According to the Guardian, 18 major shareholders including Connecticut’s state pension fund and the UK’s Legal & General have signed a letter calling for Murdoch to step down as chair from the company he began in 1953, with the purchase of the Adelaide News in Australia.

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35 comments

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5:22PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

And now if they can eliminate his influence on Faux News and the garbage in the US, all would be good!

11:24AM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Great start!!! Now if we only could get rid of FAUX news.

10:39AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Good.

7:52AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

The rat has finally deserted the sinking ship while many of his underlings, including Rebekah Brookes and Andy Coulson, are there to take the wrap and deserve everything that is coming to them.

6:05PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Is Murdoch really stepping down or just pulling a Romney? Will he still be pulling the strings from behind the curtain?

5:48PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Good. About time.

4:35PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

He needs to quit everything. He and his like-minded hatemongers are menaces to society.

2:03PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

I think, like some here he should go to jail. He could share a cell with Sandusky, but Jerry wouldn't like that because Rupert is to OLD!

11:52AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Good for Rupert, now he can spend all his time subverting news here in the USA.

11:02AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

He should be jailed for all the crap he's done, from hacking to controlling politicians.

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