Written by by Staff Writer
The Murdochs have had a pretty rough week. But don’t worry, in fact, a whole lot of hard-hitting drama unfolded in the English seaside resort of Broadstairs.
The media group, which controls Fox, 21st Century Fox and Star India, has been rattled by a row that broke out last week when the British government rejected the corporation’s proposed takeover of European telecoms group Sky. The company’s chief executive, James Murdoch, denounced the move as a bid to block a deal that would have “benefited British companies.”
The Murdochs have been embroiled in a spat with British authorities over News Corp.’s attempt to buy Sky
The decision has stymied the company’s plans to expand operations in Europe, creating an opportunity for Rupert Murdoch’s younger sons, James and Lachlan, who are to step up to lead 21st Century Fox. The feud comes as the surviving Murdochs are embroiled in a lawsuit brought by a former employee who worked at Fox News and claims the elder Murdoch sexually harassed her.
Three waves of Murdoch family succession
Lachlan Murdoch, the group’s executive chairman, offered a candid take on the Murdoch family’s fraught relationship with his father
“‘Teflon’ Murdoch: It’s business as usual” was the headline in the Daily Telegraph
In the Telegraph’s online edition, media writer Jason Rodrigues says: “How Richard Luce got the Murdochs to open up about ‘Skygate’ and their ability to get on with the business of growing the company after the deal was refused and how they managed the break-up of the ‘Mothership’ (“Aussie Ron Packer was hated by all) after [founder] Keith Murdoch’s death
“Despite the drama of recent months, and the constant feuding of the Murdochs, a lot of lessons have come to light. It’s not surprising that ‘new entrants’ like Google, Facebook and Amazon are becoming bigger players because old media’s lack of content, IT knowledge and ability to take risks saw them fade away a long time ago.”
And Jeremy Gerard of the New York Times says: “No one, not even Rupert Murdoch, should take his remarks against the British government’s decision to reject his bid for European satellite operator Sky as an accurate reflection of his true feelings.”
Murdoch nonetheless lamented the end of the deal, which he said would have boosted British coffers.
“We’ve enjoyed an historic relationship with the UK and I want to thank the Government for their consideration,” Murdoch said in a statement. “We have worked hard to strengthen British competitiveness by delivering efficiencies, increasing investment and supporting growth. This was an exceptional investment opportunity that would have benefited UK companies and the country, as well as benefiting British consumers.”
He said the deal would have delivered more than £1 billion ($1.3 billion) to the Treasury, as well as the creation of 6,000 new jobs and enhanced investment in British content.
The late Keith Murdoch founded Fox in the UK in 1969 and he kept it in the family for the remainder of his life.
Lachlan Murdoch, his eldest son, gave a rare glimpse into his conservative father’s politics when he worked for the company. In a series of emails published in the Guardian, Lachlan described Rupert as “very polite” but “a couple of times a week I’d think this guy is crazy.”