Will under-fire Murdoch sell UK titles?
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Snowed under several enquiries and damned by lawmakers today that Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person" to own a major international company, analysts believe that he may sell off his newspaper titles in Britain to protect his more profitable ventures across the globe.
Only 8 per cent of the parent company News Corporation's revenues come from Britain.
There are already reports about Murdoch considering the unthinkable -- selling off his newspaper titles in Britain to focus on the more lucrative television and new media assets.
For a man for whom newspapers have been a passion over the years and who is said to have "printing ink running through his veins", the phone-hacking row is increasingly leading to a denouement of exit.
Murdoch declared before the Leveson Inquiry in his witness statement last week that "As on 30 June 2011, approximately 8 per cent of News Corporation's revenues were generated in the UK, of which approximately 60 per cent were generated by News International."
Today's conclusion by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is likely to set the tone for another crucial enquiry by Britain's regulator, Ofcom, which has a duty to be satisfied that anyone holding a broadcasting licence in the country is "fit and proper".
Significantly, responding to the committee's report, Ofcom said, "We note the publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, which we are reading with interest.
"Ofcom has a duty under the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 to be satisfied that any person holding a broadcasting licence is, and remains, fit and proper to do so."
It added, "Ofcom is continuing to assess the evidence that may assist it in discharging these duties.
"As part of this we are considering the Committee report."
News Corporation owns 39 per cent of BSkyB shares.
The company was keen to take over the remaining shares in a multi-billion deal last year, but withdrew the bid in the face of intense revulsion over the phone-hacking issue.
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