Murdoch’s De-Risked With Disney

Tom Watson can barely contain himself: “This is the end of an era for the Murdochs who after decades of aggressive empire expansion are now in retreat.” The left is celebrating because their blood enemy of half-a-century is “in retreat”. If it is a retreat then it is a luxurious one. Disney is paying $52 billion for the Fox assets Murdoch is selling, which includes Sky in the UK. It pleases Rupert’s legion of enemies that he has lost the battle for total control of Sky…

As some of the more sober analysis on the business pages has noted, Fox stock is up 30% since the bid speculation started; Murdoch is selling at the top. Disney is gearing up for a streaming war with Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Content libraries are the key weapon in that war. Fox is getting a full premium for that treasure without the risk of becoming a casualty. Rupert could again – as he was at the dawn of satellite television – be ahead of the game. The billions in profits generated by Sky may dazzle investors now; those with more vision can see that the future of universal fast broadband and the shift to mobile means this tsunami of subscription revenue could recede very quickly. The Pay TV assets Murdoch has sold to Disney could never have it better…

Murdoch still has control of Fox News, the most lucrative news channel on earth. He still has News Corp’s newspapers around the world and a big chunk of Mickey Mouse’s stock. Fox also now has billions in cash and cash flow with which to make Murdoch’s next move…

UPDATE: Murdoch tells Maria Bartiromo that he wants to be out of entertainment and in real-time news:

Katie Perrior Joins News UK

Guido hears Theresa May’s recently departed Director of Communications Katie Perrior is joining News UK. She will be working as an election pundit for talkRADIO, News’s burgeoning radio station, alongside journalists from the Times and Sun. It has been well-documented that the advisers who have recently left had a frustrating time working in May’s Downing Street. Will make for interesting listening…

Game of Thrones Power Battle at The Sun

Fleet Street elders are looking on with horror and glee as a slow motion Game of Thrones power battle is played out at The Sun. Anyone who thinks this saga is really about a provocative Kelvin Mackenzie column criticising an Everton footballer is naive. “The New King”, “Joffrey” Gallagher, is caught in the midst of all out war between “The Old King of the North” Kelvin and the fiery “Mother of Dragons”, Queen Rebekah.

The decision by News UK to suspend Old King Kelvin is being widely viewed through the prism of Queen Rebekah loathing him. It has been noted in other realms of the Baby Shard that the statement knifing Kelvin came from a News UK spokesman, not a Sun spokesman.

The emerging narrative is that Gallagher kicked back at the decision and, rightly, defended Kelvin, hence why the statement throwing him under the torrent of outrage did not come from The Sun. It came from News UK, where Queen Rebekah reigns. Last Thursday’s Popbitch reported that “Rebekah is aching to bin his £300,000 a year column, cutting costs and helping to detoxify the Sun’s brand in one easy move”. Kelvin’s column was published on Friday.

The New King Gallagher and The Old King Kelvin also go way back. Gallagher has always owed Kelvin after he helped him secure the Sun throne. Before that, at the Telegraph, Gallagher hired Kelvin as a columnist only to be forced to cancel his column when the Scouse hordes protested.

So far, the views of the One True Sun King of Antipodea remain unclear. Though anyone who has watched the hit HBO series (available through all BSkyB-approved outlets) knows this one is going to end in a bloody mess, with a twist or two along the way…

Media Organisations Using Offshore Havens

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Guido is enjoying the squirming of the offshore elite as much as anyone – the Icelandic premier is a corker, the Putin case study is great, the Bollywood stars who make their millions from millions of poor Indians will find it hard to survive the reputational hit. All very enjoyable.

It is worth mentioning that most of the UK’s big media organisations shelter assets and cash flows offshore. Top of the hypocrites in this respect is The Guardian. They put their assets in the Caymans, and they used a Luxembourg tax shell designed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to funnel cash flows beyond the reach of HMRC. They previously blamed the difficult economic environment for committing the sins for which they condemn others. This isn’t just hypocrisy, this is an insult to us all. The Guardian’s entire heritage is one of tax dodging, the original founding Scott Trust was itself a tax dodge. They have year after year avoided tens of millions of taxes…

Other media organisations using offshore entities include the Huffington Post – whose journalists criticised Amazon for doing the same. The owners of the Mail, News UK and The Telegraph also have various offshore tax-efficient structures. Facebook, Google and Guido are not UK-owned though in the latter groups’ cases they have at least never claimed to be in favour of clamping down on tax havens. Guido’s point is that the likes of the Guardian should practice what they preach, hold all their assets in the UK and pay all the taxes which will consequently arise.

Read more:

Rebekah Will Be Appointed News UK CEO As Of Monday

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Rebekah Brooks will replace Mike Darcey as the chief executive of News UK on Monday according to Guido sources.  An official announcement will be made later today…

UPDATE: As was widely rumoured Tony Gallagher is transferring from the Daily Mail to become The Sun’s editor-in-chief.



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Dame Laura Cox report into Pestminster slams Bercow and his team…

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