Murdoch Saga Has Rivals Running in Circles

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A journalistic scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloids has ignited conflicting reporting as other news operations try to guess what he’ll do to preserve his media empire.

On Monday, Bloomberg News reported that News Corp. is considering promoting COO Chase Carey to CEO, succeeding Murdoch. It cited “people with knowledge of the situation,” adding that a decision hasn’t been made and a move depends in part of Murdoch’s performance before the U.K. Parliament.

Bloomberg said independent directors of News Corp. weighed making Carey CEO, but quoted a “senor News Corp. exec who said there had been no meeting.

Numerous outfits repeated Bloomberg’s story.

Then The Daily Beast quoted “an executive who is part of the senior leadership team” as saying Murdoch stepping down as CEO with Carey taking over “is not under active consideration and the reports are ‘inaccurate.’” Of course the executive could not rule out that Murdoch might eventually turn the CEO post over to Carey.

Not much later, the Associated Press interviewed Thomas Perkins, a News Corp. director, who said Murdoch has the full support of the board and is not considering elevating Carey to take over as COO. Perkins told the AP that News Corp. has had a succession plan has long been in place but has not been brought up in response to the phone hacking scandal.

The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal’s take is, as usual, very interesting. The WSJ says “Murdoch had considered stepping down as CEO in favor of chief operating officer Chase Cary, according to people familiar with the situation.” The paper adds that “Even if Mr. Murdoch decides to make this change, he wouldn’t do it right now, the person said. Instead it would likely happen in several months time, when presumably the furor had died down.”

The Journal usually has pretty good sources at News Corp. And vice versa.

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