Monthly Archives: July 2011

John Gapper

The Murdoch phone hacking affair has made me reflect further on how powerful people who may have broken the law get treated in various jurisdictions – and revisit the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

I wrote a column in the FT earlier this month defending the treatment of Mr Strauss-Kahn (or DSK, as he is known) at the hands of the New York judicial system. I argued that the police and prosecutors had acted correctly in arresting him promptly on charges of sexual assault, and later disclosing weakness in the evidence.

That did not go down very well with a lot of readers – here is a letter criticising my piece that was printed in the FT. However, I think that the Murdoch affair, and the collusion it has revealed among British politicians, media figures and the police make the New York authorities look even better by comparison. Read more

Andrew Hill

Plenty of critics will say that Rupert Murdoch’s full-page apology for the “serious wrongdoing” caused by the News of the World in the British phone-hacking scandal comes too late. Likewise, the resignation on Friday of former editor Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International, News Corp’s UK subsidiary, looks tardy.

But News Corp should be more concerned about whether the 6m readers of the UK papers where Mr Murdoch’s letter will appear can trust the sender, given the winding route he took before delivering it. Read more

John Gapper

The move by ConocoPhillips of the US to split its upstream and downstream operations and become a “super-independent” oil company focussed on exploration feels like one of those turning points beloved by investment bankers.

Industry mergers and demergers tend to progress on a supercycle, in which investment bankers first persuade companies to merge in order to achieve scale and then later tell them they need to demerge to gain focus. Read more

Rupert Murdoch is not strictly the founder of News Corp – it started life as News Limited, the owner of an Adelaide newspaper, under his father – but he has embodied it for the past 59 years. The media empire is built around his gambles and opinions, with little regard to what others think.

Andrew Hill

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” (Sun Tzu)

News Corporation’s withdrawal of its bid for British Sky Broadcasting is the latest in a series of increasingly desperate tactical moves by Rupert Murdoch and his chieftains to limit the consequences of the UK phone-hacking scandalRead more

Andrew Hill

Deutsche Bank’s procrastination over who should take over from Josef Ackermann as chief executive – and its readiness to consider co-chiefs to replace him – smacks of indecision, poor succession planning and compromise at the top. But could it work? Read more

Recent progress in shareholder democracy is bound to come up, when the US Senate banking committee meets on Tuesday to assess how investor protection has improved since the financial crisis.

John Gapper

The News International scandal, which today led Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, to refer Rupert Murdoch’s bid to acquire complete control of British Sky Broadcasting, throws the entire shape of his UK operations into doubt.

Might the ultimate effect be that News Corporation disposes of its troublesome UK print operations to focus on its far bigger and more profitable entertainment assets in the US and elsewhere in the world?

That possibility, raised by Andrew Hill last week, would have seemed implausible even a week ago. Rupert Murdoch is an inky-fingered newspaperman who loves papers of every stripe and infuriated investors by paying $5bn for Dow Jones four years ago. Events are, however, moving very fast. Read more