Rupert Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff has claimed News Corporation is considering selling off its British newspaper business News International.
Describing the climate within the company as ‘chicken with head cut-off time”, Wolff claimed the option of offloading its three remaining newspapers – The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun – was a ‘rumour circulating in many parts of the company”.
Speaking on the BBC this afternoon, he said there was a faction within News Corporation’s US headquarters asking the the question: ‘Why do we own newspapers anyway?”.
Speaking on the BBC this afternoon, Wolff said: ‘There’s a sense that the British company is poisoned… that there’s no way for the company to come out of this in a way that doesn’t leave it hopelessly diminished”.
He did add, however, that this is not a fixed ‘plan or strategy”, but ‘among the many discussions that are going on within News Corporation”.
In 2008 Wolff published his biography of Murdoch “The man who owns the news”, spending hundreds of hours with the media mogul over a period of nine months.
In an interview with Press Gazette magazine in January 2009, Wolff said that Murdoch is still deeply involved in the running of his UK titles – and was particularly close to then Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, who he is ‘incredibly fond of, almost as a member of the family”.
‘Rebekah’s fundamental interest in the newspaper business is anticipating what Rupert wants,” he said. “And she’s good at that, she enjoys it. The highpoint of her week, of her career, is a kind word from Rupert.”