You can be forgiven for thinking that the Murdoch-controlled media conglomerate would never let the news media go under if the deal went through.
The deal, which could have been worth up to $1 billion, was in the works for years before the merger with 21st, and despite intense pressure from the media lobby, it did not go through.
Now, after a period of public scrutiny, it looks like there may have been a lot to be forgiven about.
The story of the $1-billion-plus deal that was, and is, a complete and utter failure was revealed in a lengthy report on Tuesday by The New York Times, and in particular its revelations that the deal was largely made with the help of the Murdochs.
The Times reported that the News Corp-21st Century Media Alliance (MMIA) took the decision to take over the media division of the News of the World, a news outlet that had been owned by News Corp since 2006, when Rupert Murdoch left the company.
The News of The World had published a string of stories on the inner workings of the police and army, and the National Health Service, and had even covered the police shooting of a man named Peter Sutcliffe in London.
The news outlet had also reported on a series of corruption scandals that had engulfed the country.
But on July 2, 2011, Rupert Murdoch announced that he was selling the News Group to 21st.
At the time, News Corp was still in the process of acquiring the News International division, which had also been owned and operated by News of India.
According to The Times, the News group “seemed to be well on its way” to merging with 21.
News of Murdoch’s move to sell his stake in the News, along with his decision to buy the News and the News UK, a division of 21st Media that was headed by ex-News Corp chief executive Nick Pickles, had led to widespread speculation in the media world that Murdoch would try to turn his news business into a news agency.
The report noted that the news division of News International had been running the News site for more than 10 years, and that it had not been able to keep up with the pace of news and information coming from the Internet and social media.
And it went on to detail the many conflicts of interest that were found in the purchase.
The New Yorker, which was owned by Rupert Murdoch, had published articles that appeared to contradict the News empire’s claims about the effectiveness of its anti-corruption initiatives, including an editorial that said, “It’s not clear why it’s worth it to spend money on anti-crime programs that may not be working.”
The paper, which also had covered allegations that a politician in the Labour Party had received millions in donations from a Chinese billionaire, had also written an article in March 2011 that suggested that the company’s own internal investigation had found “serious and widespread corruption in the company” and that “a lot of the allegations are based on a lot of information that is not there.”
According to the report, the MMIA “had no plans to buy News,” despite the fact that “it had already invested in News.”
And the newspaper also found that News International’s board of directors “had made a conscious decision to use their control over the company to help it survive.”
The report concluded that the decision was driven by a desire to make a “fast buck,” and that News of Media “was not prepared to take a risk on the company, given that it was in serious financial trouble.”
“There are several stories in the Times about how the deal fell apart,” said Sam O’Brien, an analyst with the research firm MediaQuant.
“But there’s been a complete failure of editorial oversight and reporting.
There’s a very significant amount of money involved, and no one is ever going to write an editorial explaining how it all happened.”
But there was also a “serious attempt by the media to portray the deal as a win for the media,” O’Brian said.
“It was a complete disaster for the public.”
O’Connor also noted that, while News of News and News UK had operated independently for a decade, they had been heavily dependent on the News Corporation for revenue.
The MMIAs board had been forced to make an executive decision to close News International and buy the division, and it was “very difficult to have a clear and public accounting of what actually happened,” he said.
When the Times reported the details of the deal in January 2012, Murdoch’s spokesman, Mark Zellner, defended the acquisition as “a business decision” that would allow News Group “to better position itself for the future.”
“The Murdoch family are committed to working with all of our partners to ensure the MRC can continue to deliver its mission of protecting the press,” Zellners spokesperson, Alex Abbot, said in