Leading article: Two News Corps don't make a right

 

Share
Related Topics

Rupert Murdoch might, if he chose to, explain his consideration of plans to split News Corp into two as a matter of straightforward financial sense. After all, the media giant's entertainment division accounts for the overwhelming majority of its profits, and shareholders have long wanted it to be shot of the smaller, weaker, and infinitely more troublesome, publishing business.

A simple matter of pleasing the investors, then? Perhaps. More likely, though, is that Mr Murdoch is manoeuvring to relaunch his bid for BSkyB, once News Corp's existing stake in the satellite TV company is safely ensconced in an entirely separate company to its hacking-tainted newspapers.

Ostensibly, it was the furore surrounding the revelation that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked, and the subsequent shock closure of the News of the World, that put paid to Mr Murdoch's first, abortive attempt to take over all of BSkyB. At a time when a cross-party parliamentary vote was set to call on News Corp to abandon its bid, and the Prime Minister was about to announce the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, the probability of the deal clearing the already challenging regulatory hurdles had dwindled to nothing.

But the bigger headache in the long term is the media regulator's investigation into whether News Corp can still be considered "fit and proper" to hold a broadcast licence. Mr Murdoch has long resisted investors' calls for his empire to be broken into several, nimbler parts. A capitulation now looks like an attempt both to wdraw a line around News Corp's existing 39 per cent of BSkyB – for the benefit of Ofcom's current deliberations – and, if successful, pave the way for another takeover bid in the future.

It will take more than a change of corporate nameplates to alter the fundamentals, however. So long as the Murdoch family retains control, then tweaks to corporate structure count for little beside the testimony of the former Times editor who resigned over his proprietor's editorial meddling. The lesson from Harold Evans's experiences is clear: beware.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If children with guns are safer than their unarmed peers, then Somalia must be the safest place in the world to grow up

Mark Steel
Theresa May  

Democracy and the police: a system in crisis

Nigel Morris
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone