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The door shuts on Murdoch’s BSkyB deal

Stephen Beard Jul 13, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Under pressure from all sides, Rupert Murdoch today abandoned one of the biggest business deals of his career — buying the largest TV broadcaster in the U.K.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest on that evolving story. Hi Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: It seems like everyday, this story just gets bigger and bigger and keeps moving, doesn’t it?

BEARD: Absolutely. It’s almost Shakespearean — the scale of it. The fate that’s befallen Murdoch. I mean remember Hamlet: “When sorrows come they come not single spies but in battalions.”

CHIOTAKIS: Wow.

BEARD: Murdoch’s share prices slumped. He’s had to shut down one of his more profitable British newspapers. And as you say today, ahead of a highly critical debate in Parliament, Murdoch dropped his bid for total control over BSkyB, the country’s biggest commercial TV station. It’s the speed from Murdoch’s fall from grace that is so extraordinary.

Roy Greenslade of City University likens it to the Arab Spring.

ROY GREENSLADE: Within a week, rather like an Arab potentate, he’s been dislodged and demonized, and the result is almost a kind of revolution against him and a revolution against the kind of media he stands for.

CHIOTAKIS: Stephen, how much will this damage his company, News Corp., and Rupert Murdoch specifically?

BEARD: Well, his hold on power has undoubtedly been shaken. The company’s share prices has fallen 14 percent due to this crisis. Abandoning the BSkyB bid is a terrific blow. It’s a hugely profitable company. And total ownership would’ve helped Murdoch focus News Corp. even more closely on the real growth industry — TV and film — and further away from newspapers where revenues are declining.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reporting from London Stephen thank you.

BEARD: OK Steve.

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