Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has resigned as a director of a string of companies behind The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, according to The Telegraph.
The Telegraph continues:
Companies House filings show that Mr Murdoch stepped down from the boards of the NI Group, Times Newspaper Holdings and News Corp Investments in the UK last week. He also quit a number of News Corp’s US boards, the details of which have yet to be disclosed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
News Corporation played down the significance of the resignations as “nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise prior to the company split”.
The media giant took a similar line when James Murdoch resigned a string of directorships at News International last November, pouring cold water on suggestions that he was walking away from the UK newspaper arm. He quit as chairman three months later.
Murdoch has reportedly assured that he remains committed to the U.K. newspaper business, but Claire Enders at Enders Analysis claimed the resignations are part of the “slow fade of Rupert and James from the UK” that started last year and will be “complete and permanent."
“The grip of the Murdochs, finger by finger, has been loosened," she said, continuing: “James and Rupert have decided that they are not welcome in the UK, and they’re right. there is an enforced emotional withdrawal from these assets because they are no longer useful [in terms of influence]."
The Telegraph discusses the wider ramifications for both sides of the Atlantic:
News Corporation has already said it will split into two separately listed companies, distancing its embattled newspaper and book publishing interests from its rapidly growing film and television operations, which account for nearly 90pc of News Corp’s $4.2bn (£2.7bn) annual revenues.
...[Murdoch] vowed at the time of the announcement to remain a “very active chairman” of the publishing business. But his surprise resignation of directorships on both sides of the Atlantic has raised expectations that he is gearing up to sever all ties with the company.
Splitting News Corp would also put some much-needed distance between its film and television assets and the newspaper business, whose reputation is threatening the whole News Corp empire.
Reports are still unclear as to what the next step will be for the 81-year-old media mogul.