22 Jul 2012

Rupert Murdoch quits UK newspaper boards

2:26 pm on 22 July 2012

Rupert Murdoch has stepped down as a director from a string of boards overseeing the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers in Britain.

Mr Murdoch resigned as director NI Group Limited, (News International), and Times Newspapers Holdings Limited on Friday.

News Corp described the news as a "corporate housecleaning exercise" linked to preparations for the $US53 billion media conglomerate to split.

News Corp announced in June it would divide into two separate publicly traded companies: a smaller publishing division and a much larger entertainment and TV group, with the Murdoch family retaining control of both.

Speculation has risen in the last year that News Corp could seek to sell the British papers, Reuters reports.

A phone hacking scandal at the now defunct News of the World damaged Mr Murdoch's reputation in Britain and forced the group to cancel its planned acquisition of the whole of the lucrative pay-TV group BSkyB, which would have been the biggest deal in News Corp's history.

The BBC reports Mr Murdoch is expected to chair both businesses following the News Corp split but to be chief executive only of the TV and film side.

Mr Murdoch's son James, who was chairman of British newspaper arm News International when the phone hacking revelations emerged, has already quit the British newspapers and moved to the United States.