Murdoch denies planning to spin off UK newspapers

LONDON Sat May 19, 2012 11:34am EDT

News Corporation Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch leaves after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in London in a April 26, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/files

News Corporation Chief Executive and Chairman Rupert Murdoch leaves after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in London in a April 26, 2012 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris/files

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LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch has denied reports that News Corp is considering spinning off its British newspapers to protect the rest of his media empire from a phone hacking scandal.

The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times newspapers said executives at the company were looking into ways to split off the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times, published by its News International unit.

However, Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement late on Friday: "News Corporation remains firmly committed to our publishing businesses, including News International, and any suggestion to the contrary is wholly inaccurate. Publishing is a core component of our future."

British police are examining claims that journalists at the News of the World - a paper shut by Murdoch last July - routinely hacked into the phones of hundreds of celebrities, politicians and victims of crime to generate front-page stories.

They are also investigating whether staff hacked into computers and made illegal payments to public officials, including the police, to get ahead in their reporting.

The Daily Telegraph and the FT said News Corp was discussing putting the News International titles into a trust.

A News International spokeswoman hosed down the report, saying in a statement: "There are absolutely no plans to put News International into a separate trust."

Selling the newspapers to one or more wealthy individuals was another option under consideration, the FT said, quoting two people familiar with the company.

They noted no decisions had been made and a spin-off or a sale might not happen, the FT added.

The Daily Telegraph said a proposal to go into a joint venture with a media partner was also on the table, without citing its sources.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova and Tim Castle; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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Comments (1)
flashrooster wrote:
Now there’s someone whose word we can trust. It’s interesting to me that the left doesn’t make more of the enormous power and influence exercised by the rightwing zealot Rupert Murdoch who we now know is a corrupt and corrupting crook. If he flooded our homes with leftwing propaganda the way he does with his rightwing pulp fiction, we’d never, never, never hear the end of it from the whining right, truly the most hypocritical demographic in the world. I don’t think Murdoch has anything to worry about, though, at least not from US authorities. We worship corruption, when done successfully, and he’s been pretty darn successful at it.

May 19, 2012 5:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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