Wolff opines on Murdoch… again

October 31, 2008

Can you tell it’s book-flacking time?

Vanity Fair is running the second excerpt from the forthcoming book that Michael Wolff wrote about News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch (this one centers on his family), and Wolff is making the rounds this week to talk about it. He was on CNBC moments ago, engaging in everyone’s favorite media parlor game: Parsing Murdoch’s every move like a multi-clause sentence. Friday’s appearance follows a panel discussion at a PaidContent.org conference earlier this week where he made similar remarks. Here’s what he said on CNBC.

What will Murdoch do after buying The Wall Street Journal? What’s his next move?

“I’m not sure that he exactly knows. One of the problems here is that he bought a newspaper and not only did he buy a newspaper, but if he had only waited six months to buy that newspaper he would have saved a billion and a half dollars.” (Nothing like hindsight, is there?)

What will he buy? What will he sell?

“I don’t think that he’ll do either in the short term. I think in the short term they’ll try to manage their businesses the best way they know how.”

Does Rupert care that his stock is down?

“Does he care? No! Do the people around him care? The people holding stock options? Well, let me put it this way. Having spent a lot of time around that building, I have heard people at the highest echelons of that company complaining deeply about the price of News Corp shares.”

Was buying the Journal a mistake?

“I don’t think it’s a mistake for Rupert. I think it’s actually the crowning glory for Rupert. Is it a business mistake? Of course it’s a business mistake. It’s a newspaper!”

Who will run News Corp after Murdoch dies?

“I think we know who it’s going to be. His four adult children are going to be very clearly holding the reins.
James will be the CEO. … It depends on when Rupert departs this vale of tears. Is james ready to be the CEO? … Rupert wants all his children as close to him as they can possibly be but there’s no question at this point that the heir apparent is James.”

Would News Corp buy CBS? Its stock is falling like a rock.

“Somebody is going to buy CBS. Is it going to be News Corp? My bet would probably be Time Warner as the buyer for CBS.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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