Serious Family Drama And Generational Differences Between Rupert Murdoch And Son

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Rupert Murdoch is taking much heat these days after several of his newspapers were accused of phone hacking. Yesterday, Rupert withdrew his $12 billion bid to buy British Sky Broadcasting in the hopes of deflecting further speculation from the press according to The New York Times. But the decision to forgo the business venture has caused a severe divide between Rupert and his son James Murdoch who are although from the same business-savvy family, have very different visions of the future of the company.

James is the next in line to succeed his father as chairman and has been pushing to acquire British Sky Broadcasting, which he helped run from from 2003 to 2007. As his father’s son and a former member of the British Sky Broadcasting team, he has been pursuing the possibility of this deal for awhile.

Because Rupert is currently trying to handle the PR disaster with his newspapers, plans to salvage the business have essentially boiled to perhaps dividing the newspapers into a separate company that would be operated under new management. Rupert, who made his first millions off his newspapers, is more than reluctant to do this. Meanwhile, his son James doesn’t wish to hold on to them at all:

This is a move that Rupert Murdoch, 80, is certain to resist fiercely. Though Fox News has of late become the thrust of his political power in the United States, as well as a major source of revenue, his newspapers were the seedlings of his vast media enterprise. His emotional attachment to them runs deep, and they remain influential platforms not just in this country but in Britain.

James Murdoch, 38, is said to share none of his father’s romantic notions about newspapers.

Analysts said the crisis could leave the News Corporation with little choice but to spin off the newspapers.

The Murdoch brand obviously has a lot to contend with given the unethical choices of their many publications. But the possibility of saving the company and securing future deals is rooted in what the Murdochs have planned for the road head. And with simple, but classic generational differences surrounding what constitutes influential and valuable media, the Murdoch family may have hit a severe bump in the proverbial road.

Rupert “overruled” his son’s protests to go ahead with the British Sky Broadcasting deal to quote The Times, informing him of his bid withdrawal after the details were finalized. But father Murdoch, despite his notorious business prowess, may now be following the well-known family business trajectory of romanticizing past endeavors, despite his son’s warnings to look ahead.