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Business Comment

James Moore: Rupert Murdoch dodges the knock-out blow


Outlook Ever since the phone-hacking scandal broke, Rupert Murdoch has treated his critics, politicians, regulators and, indeed, his own investors, in a similar manner. He's given them all a two-fingered salute while growling "up yours".

He has been able to do it too, because while his opponents have landed some painful blows, none of them have yet been able to say "gotcha". The knock out has eluded them.

But the battle Mr Murdoch finds himself in is no three-round, amateur boxing bout leaving both sides a bit bruised but unbowed at the end. It's a 12-round, heavyweight tag-team slugfest. And if you allow such a battle to continue there is always the chance that one of your opponents will get lucky.

Hence the idea of a split, parcelling up News Corp's entertainment businesses into one company and its publishing operations, including all those troublesome newspapers, into another.

So far it is just talk, but it seems certain that the Murdoch tribe will retain voting control of both entities while ensuring that there are enough family members or loyalists in key positions to stifle any dissent.

This is, then, a feint designed to wrong-foot at least some of his opponents – a technique at which which Mr Murdoch has proved to be very adept.

If they have their wits about them his critics won't be fooled. If.