Comment by Michael Collins
Allow me to be perfectly candid. Rupert Murdoch is sacrificing his son’s reputation and future to hold onto power for just a few months longer. News Corporation shareholders are in full revolt over the liability created by shoddy management in the UK and the absurd political positioning and mischief in the United States (among other things). Murdoch is letting son James, formerly heir to the News Corporation throne, take the hits for the phone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom. Of greater significance, James is the patsy for the loss of the BSkyB acquisition (the remaining 61%, News Corp already owns 39%). This will likely cost News Corporation $40 billion in gross revenue over the next five years had the acquisition been approved. (Images: Hubert Burda Media, L, World Economic Forum)
The BSkyB acquisition was a cinch until the Guardian broke the phone hacking scandal on July 4, 2011. Within days, the three major parties agreed that the acquisition should be postponed for at least the duration of the slow-moving investigation established by Prime Minister David Cameron (a year, by the estimate of chairman, Lord Justice Levenson).
An objective analysis of the House of Commons committee hearings featuring father and son would have to feature Rupert’s memory lapses and his deferral to son James to fill in the details. It has been downhill for James since then. He had to defend positions that made no sense while father Rupert simply said he didn’t recall much. People close to Rupert Murdoch often repeat that he lives for one thing, his print properties Rupert knew what Rebekah Kelly was up to, no doubt, and he had to know about phone hacking. But it is James who is taking the fall.
Murdoch is a modern day Abraham (absent the command hallucinations) ready to eviscerate his son for just a few more months of power.
Although News Corp has been performing well, the drip-drip of the phone-hacking scandal has taken its toll on the boss’s son
Forty-eight months ago, James Murdoch‘s eventual assumption of the top job at his father’s News Corporation seemed only a year or two away. But even his close allies now concede that he is unlikely to take over when Rupert Murdoch, 80, steps aside, after it emerged that a majority of the company’s non-family shareholders voted against his re-election to the board on Monday evening.
Chase Carey, the firm’s president who runs its Fox television and cable channels, and who won the support of 78% of independent investors and is now described as being “lined up” to take over eventually, as James Murdoch contends with the personal fall out from the phone-hacking crisis that closed the News of the World and shareholder vote that saw him win the backing of only 42% of non-family investors.
The disparity in voting demonstrates the popularity of Carey, who is well known among the firm’s Wall Street investors, while those close to the younger Murdoch say he will now have to spend “five years or whatever it takes” proving himself in the US before he can hope to run the business that his father built up when he inherited an Adelaide newspaper in the early 1950s.