As a former employee of Collins Dictionaries, which is part of HarperCollins, which is part of News Corp, which owns News International, I’m obviously paying close attention to the unravelling phone-hacking scandal.
Of course I don’t have any inside information – Collins was organisationally too far removed from News International – but it is interesting to see how ruthless Murdoch can be when his interests are threatened. Even if the situation of News of the World had become untenable, one would have thought it would have been better to sell it off rather than shutting it down on the spot.
What will happen now? Will Murdoch get rid of all of News International, as people are hinting today? Perhaps he’ll even chuck in HarperCollins for good measure? Can Murdoch and his kids retain their position within News Corp? It seems News Corp has lost $3.4 billion in market capitalisation today – the big shareholders won’t tolerate that for very long.
It seems more and more likely that all of News International is contaminated, but what about other British newspapers, and what about News Corp’s American titles?
It will be interesting to follow over the next few weeks. I’m just happy I’m not a News Corp employee any more, or I would be lying awake at night wondering whether my job would disappear overnight in the same way as News of the World.