Murdoch Talks Media

Rupert Murdoch has not allowed the crisis in his most-loved medium -- the newspaper -- stop the growth of his global empire.

Murdoch, the 78-year-old News Corp. ( NWSA) chairman and CEO who moved television news considerably to the political right with Fox News, stunned the U.S. newspaper establishment in 2007 with his purchase of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. If the $60-per-share acquisition seemed high in 2007, it now looks ridiculously so. Still, it gave the owner of the New York Post a long-sought platform to take on his nemesis, The New York Times.

His purchase of MySpace in 2005 gave him an important foothold on the Internet, and in 2007 News Corp. launched with General Electric's ( GE) NBC, an attempt to take on YouTube.

News Corp. has vast holdings outside the U.S., including newspaper The Times of London and a large stake in British Sky Broadcasting, the largest digital pay TV platform in the U.K. It also owns Sky Italia, the most popular pay-TV service in Italy.

Newspapers in Peril

Murdoch spoke to by phone last week. Here is an excerpt of the interview. Michael Wolff has written in Vanity Fair that you want to buy The New York Times (NYT), that you've planned out the deal in detail. Is that true?

Murdoch: No. That's nonsense. I don't think it's for sale anyway. I haven't even thought about it. But I would imagine that it would be legally and politically almost impossible, so I'm not thinking about it.

There's been a lot of shakeup at MySpace. Why are you shutting down your global ambitions?

We're not. We're just getting first things right first. The business sort of grew out of control and really out of size. I blame myself and it had to be brought back in size, but we feel that we've got new creative people and it will be a very strong force in many ways and shouldn't be compared ... I mean, it will be a very different social site to, say, Facebook.

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