LONDON May 8 Rupert Murdoch's News
International is in talks to occupy the whole of an empty office
block at the foot of London's Shard, Western Europe's tallest
skyscraper, two sources told Reuters.
News International, part of the News Corp media
empire that publishes British newspapers The Sun and The Times,
is negotiating a lease for a 430,000 square foot building called
The Place, which, along with its taller and more famous
neighbour, was funded by the state of Qatar.
A Shard spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
A deal would be the first major office letting at the site
next to London Bridge station as crisis-hit companies stay put,
making for a weak central London office lettings market.
The main Shard tower has not announced an office tenant yet
but several property sources told Reuters it was waiting to
reveal several occupiers, which are likely to include
broadcaster Al-Jazeera, in one announcement.
A News International spokeswoman did not comment on a move
to The Place, on the south bank of the river Thames, but said
the company's lease on Land Securities' Thomas More
Square expired next year and it was exploring all options to
accommodate its staff.
The publisher, which shut the News of the World Sunday paper
in 2011 over a phone hacking scandal, occupies the development
next to its former home, known as "Fortress Wapping", which was
sold to housebuilder Berkeley Group last year.
The Fortress Wapping site gained its nickname after it was
the scene of riots in 1986, when thousands of demonstrators
clashed with police in protests at Murdoch's move to shift his
news operation out of Fleet Street and break the power of the