Rupert Murdoch Talks About Succession, Politics, And His Greatest “Screwup”: Fortune

murdoch-rupertRupert Murdoch is all over Twitter. (“My family are horrified that I’m on it,” he says.) But in agreeing to sit down for a broad interview with Fortune, one of the media industry’s most powerful moguls signals that he’s finally ready to return in a serious way to the public stage that he has largely abandoned as he grappled with his UK hacking scandals and a bitter divorce, as well as uncertainty about the prospects for his media empire — which he split into two companies last year — and his succession plans. You should check out the piece by senior editor-at-large Pattie Sellers. Here are a few of the highlights:

Related: Rupert Murdoch Says There May Be Multiple ‘Avatar’ Sequels: Fortune

Succession: His sons James and Lachlan are first in line to take over although “I’m going to be here for a long time. And so will [Fox COO] Chase Carey and [News Corp CEO]  Robert Thomson.” murdochsThe effort to bring Lachlan back intensified after a private meeting with James at last year’s Allen & Co confab in Sun Valley. “We had two or three hours together. Lachlan was not not going to come back. It was a question of how we would work together.”

Related: Lachlan And James Murdoch Given Big New Roles At News Corp

Daughter Liz Murdoch’s decision not to join the News Corp board: Rupert says he’d “rather not go into that.” A lot of close families “have good arguments. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.” And it’s “more than possible” that she’ll return to the family business.

Who’ll be the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate: Murdoch says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is “my number one” calling him “a man of very fine character.” He also has “particular admiration” for Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “could recover” from inquiries into his possible role in manufactured traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Murdoch agrees with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on “a great number of things” but disagrees on foreign policy “too strongly perhaps to vote for him.”

His view of Hillary Clinton: He left open the possibility of supporting her but “it would depend on the Republican candidate totally.” He adds that he “could live with Hillary as President. We have to live with who we get. We don’t have any choice.” Read More »

Comments (6)

District Court Dismisses Hacking-Related Case Against News Corp.

News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch leaves his flat with Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News International,  in central LondonAvon Pension Fund and others who owned News Corp stock from mid-February to mid-July 2011 charged in the class action suit … Read More »

Comments (4)

Lachlan And James Murdoch Given Big New Roles At News Corp, 21st Century Fox; Fox Nets Group’s Peter Rice Extends Contract

UPDATE: Below the original post is a copy of Rupert Murdoch’s memo to staff at 21st Century Fox regarding today’s appointments. In it, he notes that the evolution of the company’s leadership, “underscores the considerable planning that both the Company and the Board have undertaken to ensure a … Read More »

Comments (2)

James Murdoch Calls Dish Network-Disney Deal A Step In Right Direction

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 9:48am PST

Fox‘s Deputy COO particularly likes the fact that Dish Network agreed to disable the ad-zapping function in its Hopper DVRs for the first three days after it records an ABC show. James Murdoch photo“Protecting certain windows is important” — especially the three-day period that’s most important for TV ad sales — James Murdoch told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today. As part of the deal Disney dropped out of the suit that Fox and other broadcasters filed against Dish, which charged that its DVR’s capability to automatically skip past ads in recordings of their shows infringed on copyrights and violated contracts. Murdoch shied from discussing Disney’s changes in depth, but  said that “overall it looks like it’s a positive step forward. But it’s a step.” He also left a lot of wiggle room in his response to a question about Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. “You can clearly see the rationale…But this one we have to watch very closely.” He suspects “there’ll be more to come” as regulators and others investigate how much clout Comcast would have over broadband access and pricing. Read More »

Comments (1)

James Murdoch Named Chairman Of Sky Deutschland’s Supervisory Board

After ankling many of his European board seats in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp’s UK press arm, James Murdoch has been elected Chairman of the supervisory board of Sky Deutschland. The … Read More »

Comments (2)

Rupert Murdoch’s Earnings Drop To $28.9M For Fiscal 2013

By | Friday August 30, 2013 @ 5:33am PDT

21st Century Fox, the media and entertainment company created out of the split of News Corp, filed a definitive proxy statement with the SEC today, revealing some interesting figures. Among them is the news that chairman and CEO … Read More »

Comments (5)

Global Showbiz Briefs: James Murdoch Reboots, ‘Doctor Who’ Ready To Celebrate

News Corp. has been raising the profile of deputy COO James Murdoch of late with the exec making two appearances before investors last month. Is News Corp. also looking to rebuild his coterie of board seats? Germany’s Sky Deutschland plans to appoint Murdoch as a member of its supervisory board, according to Reuters. The pay-TV group, a source told the news agency, expects to benefit from Murdoch’s international market and new technology savvy. Amid the phone-hakcing and bribery scandals at News Corp.’s UK press division last year, Murdoch left chairmanships at News International and at pay-TV group BSkyB, which News Corp. controls via its 39% stake. He also ankled the boards of Sotheby’s, GlaxoSmithKline and News Corp.’s UK print operations. But, he retained his board seat at BSkyB. News Corp. owns 54.8% of Sky Deutschland and if Murdoch does join the company board, he would be surrounded by News Corp. execs. COO Chase Carey, 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner, News International CEO Thomas Mockridge and Europe & Asia COO Jan Koeppen are all members. Read More »

Comments (3)

James Murdoch Says News Corp Will Be Vigilant About Sports Costs

By | Monday February 25, 2013 @ 1:46pm PST

Looks like News Corp’s trying to boost the Deputy COO’s profile on Wall Street: James Murdoch’s appearance today at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference was his second high-profile presentation to investors this month. (He was also on News Corp’s latest earnings call.) Rupert’s son, who last year had to defend himself against allegations that he was at least partly responsible for News Corp’s UK hacking and bribery scandals, seemed to relish the largely friendly questions about the company’s plans. He assured the audience that the company won’t go overboard in buying rights to sports programming amid reports that News Corp plans to create a national sports network. “It’s important to have a portfolio of rights where you can walk away,” Murdoch says. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted payments that were “too rich for us,” leading the team to create its own regional sports channel. Read More »

Comments (0)

Australian Fund To Sell News Corp. Stake

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 1:29am PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

Ahead of News Corp.‘s annual general meeting in October, Rupert Murdoch tweeted: “Any shareholders with complaints should take profits and sell!” Australia’s First Super is taking … Read More »

Comments (0)

Rupert Murdoch & James Murdoch Want U.S. Hacking Lawsuit Dismissed

By | Monday December 3, 2012 @ 5:56pm PST

Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch want an American class action lawsuit against them and News International over the UK phone hacking scandal dismissed. Not because they may have acted badly but, in a … Read More »

Comments (4)

UPDATE: James Murdoch Keeps BSkyB Board Seat With 95% Shareholder Support

By | Thursday November 1, 2012 @ 5:19am PDT

UPDATE, 5:15 AM: James Murdoch has been re-elected as a non-executive director of BSkyB. Murdoch won more support at today’s shareholder meeting in London than he had at the last one when he was still chairman of the pay-TV group. Although some investors opposed his retaining a seat, only 4.98% of proxy voters wanted him out this year compared to 19% last year. One shareholder, alluding to the troubles at News Corp.’s UK newspapers, asked if the name Murdoch is now “toxic,” but chairman Nicholas Ferguson replied there had been no negative impact on company business.

PREVIOUS, 3:19 AM: BSkyB earnings were up 16% in the fiscal first quarter on revenue of £1.715B (+4%) and operating profit of £310M (+5%). The increases came as the pay-TV giant offered new products and added 20,000 net customers to its subscriber base, for a total of about 10.7M subscribers. In response to competition in the UK streaming arena from Netflix and Amazon’s Lovefilm, BSkyB added Now TV during this quarter, a service that allows non-Sky customers to access movies on demand. It also agreed to pay £760M per season for rights to the English Premier League soccer games through 2014 (NBC just acquired rights in the States for a reported $83M per year). Read More »

Comments (0)

BSkyB Chief Exec Jeremy Darroch Nets £7M Pay Package; James Murdoch Gets £90K

By | Tuesday September 25, 2012 @ 2:07am PDT

Britain’s leading pay-TV group, BSkyB, reported increased revenues this summer for the year ended June 30 and a record jump in operating profit to £1.22B ($1.98B). Directors at the News Corp.-controlled company also saw increased payouts for the … Read More »

Comments (1)

FT: James Murdoch To Take Over News Corp’s TV Business

By | Thursday September 20, 2012 @ 1:30pm PDT

Although widely criticized for his role in the UK hacking scandal, the company is preparing to give Deputy COO James Murdoch “direct responsibility for News Corp’s U.S. television businesses,” the Financial Times reports. His mandate would include the Fox Networks Group, which includes Fox Broadcasting and cable networks FX, National Geographic, and SPEED — but not Fox News. The paper says that the head of Fox Networks Group, Peter Rice, would report to James. Rupert Murdoch‘s son lobbied for this in July when Rice landed the job, but the CEO and COO Chase Carey “resisted.” The story says its undisclosed sources have different thoughts about when the new arrangement might be announced. At least one person “close to the company” says that some execs want to wait until they know more about Scotland Yard’s investigations into phone and computer hacking, and bribery, at the company’s UK tabloid newspapers including the now-defunct News Of The World while James ran News International, the unit that runs the publications. Read More »

Comments (5)

UPDATE: News Corp. Responds To Ofcom’s BSkyB Decision, James Murdoch Criticism

By | Thursday September 20, 2012 @ 3:04am PDT

UPDATE: News Corp. “is pleased” with the UK regulator’s decision that BSkyB is fit to hold a broadcast license. But, the company took issue with Ofcom’s stance on former chairman James Murdoch, whose actions were called “ill-judged.” News Corp. said: “We disagree with with certain of the report’s statements about James Murdoch’s prior actions as an executive and Director, which are not at all substantiated by evidence.” (Full statement below)

PREVIOUS, 12:01 AM PT: Sky has passed the “fit and proper” test. British regulator Ofcom has concluded its months-long consideration of whether the satcaster is fit to hold a broacast license in light of phone hacking and other allegations surrounding News Corp.-controlled media properties in the UK. News Corp. owns 39% of Sky. The org today said: “There is no evidence that Sky was directly or indirectly involved in any of the wrongdoing either admitted or alleged to have taken place” at News Of The World or at The Sun. However, Ofcom was critical of James Murdoch, who stepped down as chairman of BSkyB in April this year. The org said today: “The evidence available to date does not provide a reasonable basis to find that James Murdoch… was complicit in a cover up” at the News International newspapers. But, while Murdoch was exec chairman of News International, Ofcom says it considers his conduct, “including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged.”

Regarding his father, Ofcom says it does not consider the evidence currently available “provides a reasonable basis on which to conclude that Rupert Murdoch acted in a way that was inappropriate in relation to phone hacking, concealment or corruption by employees of [News Group Newspapers] or News International.” It also gave a pass to News Corp., saying it has no evidence to “reach any conclusion that News Corporation acted in a way that was inappropriate in relation to phone hacking, concealment, or corruption.” Read More »

Comments (1)

Rupert Murdoch: James Wasn’t Tainted By Hacking Scandal

By | Thursday June 28, 2012 @ 10:46am PDT

CNBC’s David Faber artfully got Rupert Murdoch to answer some hacking-scandal-related questions while talking up News Corp’s reorganization plan. The CEO says his son James was “not in the least” tarnished by his handling of the affair when he ran News International. “He’s been praised…told the … Read More »

Comments (1)

Rebekah Brooks’ Text To David Cameron: “Professionally, We’re In This Together!”

UPDATE, 8:37 AM: David Cameron began the afternoon session at Leveson by immediately clarifying hesitant and vague comments he’d made earlier about his relationship with Rebekah Brooks. Noting that his wife keeps excellent diaries, he said he was only at his country residence, just down the road from Brooks, every six weeks in 2008 & 2009 and even less than that in 2010. Once that was handled, questioning turned to the BSKyB bid and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s role in it.

Cameron has vociferously defended Hunt, refusing to refer him to an independent probe on ministerial conduct. That’s despite revelations of a close relationship between Hunt’s and James Murdoch’s offices and his public support of the bid before being given oversight of it. When Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility in the bid, after he was caught by undercover reporters saying he’d declared “war on Murdoch,” Hunt was installed to replace him. Although the affair was turned around in an afternoon, Cameron insisted, “It was not a rushed, botched decision.” It also recently came to light that on the same day, Downing Street had received legal advice that remarks made by Hunt could be seen as “prejudging the issues.” Cameron told the inquiry, “If anyone had told me that Jeremy Hunt couldn’t do the job, I wouldn’t have given him the job.”

PREVIOUS, 6:06 AM: Toeing a familiar line, UK Prime Minister David Cameron today denied he ever had an “overt” or a “covert” deal with the Murdochs in exchange for their newspapers’ support. The PM also added that he didn’t believe in “wink and nod deals” and shot down the idea that the Conservative Party and Murdoch’s UK press arm News International got together and plotted an exchange to pass News Corp’s BSkyB bid.

The morning session of the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethichs – which Cameron himself convened last year – got off to a slow start with counsel Robert Jay lobbing softballs at the relaxed politician. Increasingly, however, Cameron appeared frustrated by questions about his relationships with the Murdochs and former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks – along with a pretty damning text message – and his hiring of former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson as his communications director.

On his relationship with Brooks, who is now facing charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice related to the phone-hacking scandal, Cameron was somewhat vague. The two had known each other for some time before she started dating Cameron’s Oxfordshire neighbor Charlie Brooks, but he said their relationship grew after she became engaged to and moved in with Brooks, “a few miles down the road.” When queried as to how often they saw each other, Cameron said, “It’s very difficult because I don’t have a record and I don’t want to give you an [inaccurate] answer… Sometimes quite a bit… Definitely once she started going out with Charlie… I was definitely seeing her more often. Charlie and I play tennis so… ” Read More »

Comments (2)

BSkyB Revenues Up 5% To £5.1B; Chief Plays Up Contribution To U.K.

By | Wednesday May 2, 2012 @ 3:03am PDT

On an earnings call this morning, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the company should be judged based on its “track record as a broadcaster.” He was addressing the issue of UK regulator Ofcom’s ongoing investigation into whether James Murdoch and News Corp are “fit and proper” persons to hold a broadcast license on behalf of BSkyB. (Murdoch stepped down as CEO of BSkyB in early April, but he remains a non-executive director.) Darroch emphasized that Sky and its largest shareholder, News Corp, are “separate companies” and said, “We think it’s our track record as a broadcaster that’s the most important in determining our fitness for a license.” He added, “It’s important to remember the broader contribution that SKY makes to the UK…We think that shouldn’t be lost in all of this.” The satcaster’s results for the 9 months ended March 31 come one day after a UK parliamentary committee said Rupert Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run an international company. Read More »

Comments (1)

Rupert Murdoch’s Letter To News Corp Employees Backs Son James

Rupert Murdoch has sent a letter to employees of News Corp following today’s release of a UK select committee’s findings on phone hacking at News Of The World. Murdoch’s note comes a week after he testified before the Leveson Inquiry into UK ethics and says in part, “We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing.” However, he adds that News Corp’s internal Management and Standards Committee has completed its review of the Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun and has found no illegal conduct “other than a single incident reported months ago, which led to the discipline of the relevant employee.” He also gives a shout-out to his embattled son, noting “News International, at the instigation of James, instituted important governance reforms.” Below is Murdoch’s full letter:

Related: News Corp Responds To UK Report, Calls Out “Partisan” Commentary Read More »

Comments (0)

UK Committee’s Phone-Hacking Report Chooses Words Carefully: Analysis

Although speculation as to its contents was in many ways on the mark, the UK government’s select committee report into phone hacking had a few surprises up its sleeve today. Neither Rupert Murdoch nor James Murdoch has been accused of misleading Parliament, but the findings are critical of both. Especially incendiary is a refrain that reads: “Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The inclusion of the line was debated by the cross-party panel but ultimately stayed in after a 6-4 vote. In remarks following the report’s publication, lawmakers cautioned that this particular conclusion should not deflect from the report’s initial aim — namely to determine whether executives at News Corp-controlled News International misled the committee during 2009 sessions on phone hacking. Read More »

Comments (2)
More Deadline | Hollywood »