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Murdoch battles to save paper biz

Rupert Murdoch, fighting to bring under control a crisis that has cost him a $12-billion deal, is unlikely to rush into the sale of the newspaper business at the heart of the hacking uproar in Britain. The Mogul's media empire

world Updated: Jul 14, 2011 23:29 IST

Rupert Murdoch, fighting to bring under control a crisis that has cost him a $12-billion deal, is unlikely to rush into the sale of the newspaper business at the heart of the hacking uproar in Britain.

The shockwaves of the scandal are spreading globally. Some US lawmakers called for an investigation to see if the Australian-born billionaire’s News Corp broke any American laws.

Britain must decide whether Murdoch’s news business is fit to run TV stations in the country, the government said on Thursday as Murdoch refused a summons by Parliament to answer questions over alleged crimes.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government might review media laws.

Murdoch shut down News of the World in a move to contain the fallout from the crisis, which included a 15% slide in News Corp shares, and withdrew his bid for broadcaster BSkyB.

However, the group may struggle to find any buyers. “I don’t know anyone who would want to buy them with the cloud hanging over,” said a banking source.

A sale of News International, the group’s UK newspaper arm, could help Murdoch put the crisis behind him. But that may not be his most immediate focus.

Instead, the media baron is primarily focused on sorting out immediate political and legal issues faced by his company, family and staff, a source said.

The scandal could contaminate News Corp’s Wall Street Journal and Murdoch’s broader media business in the US.

“I think the UK hacking scandal has the potential to damage the Wall Street Journal’s reputation,” said Jay Ottaway, whose family owned 6.2% of WSJ publisher Dow Jones & Co before it was sold to News Corp.

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