International media magnate Rupert Murdoch is leaving his board posts at companies that own a number of his News Corp.’s best-known newspaper properties, including Britain’s The Sun, the London Times and the London Sunday Times, according to a report in the London Telegraph.
Filings with British authorities indicate that Mr.Murdoch is giving up his seats on the boards of NI Group, Times Newspaper Holdings and News Corp. Investments, as well as his board memberships with at least some U.S. newspaper properties owned by News Corp. The company’s American media holdings include the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Barron’s.
Mr. Murdoch and News Corp., which have been hammered by revelations of wire-tapping by journalists and editors at some of its leading British media properties, announced in June plans to split the News Corp. empire into two separate companies, with the highly profitable broadcast and entertainment interests, including Fox News, in one corporate arm and the print media and publishing interests in a second company.
At the time, News Corp. said in a statement that Mr. Murdoch would serve as chairman of both companies, but keep his CEO role only for the media/entertainment firm. The company said it would take approximately a year for the split to take full effect.
Analysts have speculated that New York-based News Corp. may be eyeing the sale of the less profitable print and publishing businesses, and Mr. Murdoch’s decision to leave the board of the newspaper properties would be in line with that.
But News Corp. officials are playing down the significance of the resignations, calling them “nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise.” Mr. Murdoch has said he has no plans to abandon his newspaper interests.